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Santa Claus : The Historical Origins and Evolution of the Legendary Christmas Figure
by Charles River Editors




Overview -
*Includes pictures
*Includes contemporary accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
"Dear Editor -I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?" - Letter written by Virginia O Hanlon in The Sun newspaper (1897)Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. After the corresponding days that exalt the national pride of each country, such as Independence Day in the United States, Victory Day in Russia, or Bastille Day in France, it's December 25 that articulates the life, the work and the economy in much of the world, including many non-Christian countries. Since ancient times, the beginning of winter has been the occasion for most people to eat, drink, dance, and get together to beat the drum and take a break.
Especially since the 20th century on, the days adjacent to the holiday have become an occasion to do big business. The winter season is the most solid stimulus for the economy - more than any fiscal package - since the incomes of families, spending, credit, and consumption in all productive sectors are significantly increased. In the United States alone, Christmas sales are estimated to generate $3 trillion.
In the early 19th century, two literary works appeared and helped shape Christmas. The first was a collection of stories by Washington Irving, entitled Sketch Book, from 1819. The work "not only gave to American literature the characters of Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, but sparked widespread interest in Christmas as a cozy domestic ritual." Next came A Visit from St. Nicholas, a children's poem better known as "The Night Before Christmas," which was published anonymously in 1823, but is traditionally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, a university professor and Biblical scholar. The poem spread quickly and helped install a definitive image of Santa Claus in the popular imagination, with his sleigh, his eight reindeer (each one with a name), his red nose, and his journeys down chimneys to fill children's stockings with toys. Supposedly, Moore got his inspiration during a shopping outing in a sleigh, and he based his Santa Claus on a Dutchman who lived in Chelsea.
"So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.His eyes -- how they twinkled his dimples how merry His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow..."
Meanwhile, the turning point for old St. Nicholas, now Santa Claus, came with the December 24, 1881 edition of Harper s Weekly. Artist Thomas Nast gave him his definitive look for the Christmas issue as an old man with a huge round belly and a belt, a thick white beard, a red nose, a cap, mistletoe on his head, a miniature horse toy in one hand, a pipe between his fingers, and a child hanging from his neck.
Ever since, Santa has been known the world over for being delightfully paunchy and endlessly jolly. To most, these two descriptors alone are enough to conjure up his name, and lead them to envision a round-bellied, grandfather-type, clad in a fur-trimmed, cherry-red ensemble, armed with candy canes and a bottomless sack of presents, and blessed with a bushy, silvery-white beard.

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More About Santa Claus by Charles River Editors

 
 
 

Overview

*Includes pictures
*Includes contemporary accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
"Dear Editor -I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?" - Letter written by Virginia O Hanlon in The Sun newspaper (1897)Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. After the corresponding days that exalt the national pride of each country, such as Independence Day in the United States, Victory Day in Russia, or Bastille Day in France, it's December 25 that articulates the life, the work and the economy in much of the world, including many non-Christian countries. Since ancient times, the beginning of winter has been the occasion for most people to eat, drink, dance, and get together to beat the drum and take a break.
Especially since the 20th century on, the days adjacent to the holiday have become an occasion to do big business. The winter season is the most solid stimulus for the economy - more than any fiscal package - since the incomes of families, spending, credit, and consumption in all productive sectors are significantly increased. In the United States alone, Christmas sales are estimated to generate $3 trillion.
In the early 19th century, two literary works appeared and helped shape Christmas. The first was a collection of stories by Washington Irving, entitled Sketch Book, from 1819. The work "not only gave to American literature the characters of Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, but sparked widespread interest in Christmas as a cozy domestic ritual." Next came A Visit from St. Nicholas, a children's poem better known as "The Night Before Christmas," which was published anonymously in 1823, but is traditionally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, a university professor and Biblical scholar. The poem spread quickly and helped install a definitive image of Santa Claus in the popular imagination, with his sleigh, his eight reindeer (each one with a name), his red nose, and his journeys down chimneys to fill children's stockings with toys. Supposedly, Moore got his inspiration during a shopping outing in a sleigh, and he based his Santa Claus on a Dutchman who lived in Chelsea.
"So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.His eyes -- how they twinkled his dimples how merry His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow..."
Meanwhile, the turning point for old St. Nicholas, now Santa Claus, came with the December 24, 1881 edition of Harper s Weekly. Artist Thomas Nast gave him his definitive look for the Christmas issue as an old man with a huge round belly and a belt, a thick white beard, a red nose, a cap, mistletoe on his head, a miniature horse toy in one hand, a pipe between his fingers, and a child hanging from his neck.
Ever since, Santa has been known the world over for being delightfully paunchy and endlessly jolly. To most, these two descriptors alone are enough to conjure up his name, and lead them to envision a round-bellied, grandfather-type, clad in a fur-trimmed, cherry-red ensemble, armed with candy canes and a bottomless sack of presents, and blessed with a bushy, silvery-white beard.


This item is Non-Returnable.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781791716523
  • ISBN-10: 1791716520
  • Publisher: Independently Published
  • Publish Date: December 2018
  • Page Count: 100
  • Dimensions: 11.02 x 8.5 x 0.21 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.56 pounds


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