Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Evolution of Santa Claus

If you have time, you might enjoy perusing this engrossing and well-illustrated pictorial overview of the evolution of Santa Claus, from the 13th-century Russian saint to the jocund figure of today. At left and below are some highlights.
Print of St Nicholas by Alexander Anderson, commissioned in New York by John Pintard (1810)
Like the cat! (and the andirons). Is that a stack of pancakes for Saint Nicholas?
Illustration from the 1864 edition of Clement Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas
Japanese illustration from 1914


  1. Fascinating how the idea of St. Nick evolved from a Greek saint and an English concept of Woden as giver of gifts to the "jolly old elf" of today. An article on the Public Domain Review credits New York City and Washington Irving with adding to the heft and merriness of the former Sinterklaas.
    But will he evolve further?
    Will a cyber-Claus sit at a computer doling out gift cards-- ranging from 5 big F. A. O. Schwartz cards to (for the naughty) a $10 gift card at Neiman-Marcus, where all it will buy is a scornful look from the staff?
    I hope not!
    Hope everybody got exactly what they wanted yesterday!

    1. Always better to get what you want, in many cases, than what you deserve.

  2. Your concept of cyber Santa is pretty funny!

    1. Thanks! The humor grafts are starting to take, I think. ;-)