10. In 1820 stores began advertising for the Christmas shopping season and in 1840 special sections of newspapers would be dedicated to store promotions, including the first images of Santa Claus.

9. In 1822 an Episcopal minister published a whimsical poem for his 3 daughters, “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”, which largely created the modern image of Santa as a “right jolly old elf.” Better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” it would be read world-wide on Christmas Eve for over a century.

8. The first “appearance” of Santa would be in 1841 in Philadelphia at the JW Parkinson’s store, with thousands of children coming to see a life-sized Santa model.

7. Harpers Weekly political cartoonist Thomas Nast created Santa in 1881 with his bright red suit, white fur trimming, a North Pole workshop, a wife and little toy-making elves. Soon after, Coca-Cola added Santa Claus to its ads, making him an icon for the holiday season.

6. In the 1890’s the Salvation Army dressed up unemployed men in Santa suits to help collect donations for their annual Christmas dinner for needy families.

5. Montgomery Wards, a department store, would make history with a little reindeer named Rudolph. Robert L. May was accredited with writing a story-poem about this reindeer that saved Christmas, and sold over 2.5 million copies of the story to make history himself.

4. Johnny Marks a friend of May’s would write a hit song in 1949 about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, sung by Burl Ives, which would go on to be translated into 25 languages around the world.

3. Only 10% of households leave out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

2. Nearly 90% of all Santa’s have their beard pulled to confirm it is real. Maybe it’s a tradition inspired by Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street.

1. Santa Claus, also known as: Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins. To believe or not to believe is not the question, but to hold in our hearts the true joy and happiness of the season that this jolly old elf helps remind us of. “God made Christmas happen, friends make Christmas beautiful, music makes Christmas festive, giving makes Christmas joyous and LOVE makes Christmas complete.” William Arthur Ward

Happy Holidays and Blessings for a Happy New Year, Michele Hellyer


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