I come to you bearing the gift of vintage Santa images—just in time for Christmas Eve!
The Santa Claus of today, with his red suit and white beard, became popular after Clement Clarke Moore published “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. He was a minister in the Episcopal tradition who penned the poem for his daughters. It introduced us to some of the major aspects of today’s Santa, like his reindeer-drawn sleigh and magical ability to enter a house through the chimney—and leave without making a sound.
The first of our vintage Santa images is from a mid-century card that, if I recall correctly, may have been sent out by a television station. I scanned these so long ago that I don’t remember! He’s wearing his characteristic red suit and hat while he relaxes in front of the TV.
This Santa Claus, and every other similar depiction, came from artist Thomas Nast’s 1881 drawings in Harper’s Weekly. This Santa was jolly indeed, with his pipe, bright red cheeks and nose, and his cargo of presents for children! You can see Nast’s depiction on The History Channel blog. Coca-Cola further popularized this version for their advertisements!
This vintage Santa wound up on my Instagram because he amused me.
I can’t decide if he looks like he’s been enjoying a bit of green Christmas cheer, or if he finds something funny but doesn’t wanna tell anybody. I’m going with the first option. He’s looking way too sleepy-cheerful otherwise.
The above Christmas picture was from another mid-century card, the inside of which is below.
As always, just click on it to open in a new tab. You can download the full-size file from there!
I also went ahead and prepared a version without the banner text, too, for whatever purpose you want. Have fun with it.
This batch of vintage Christmas took way too long because my external drive was giving me issues, so I’m kind of… eyeballing it warily and hoping it holds out for a bit longer, pleeeeeeeease. I would back everything up on Drive if I didn’t have so darn much. Maybe I need to be selective about what original files I hold on to.
If I don’t manage to post anything for tomorrow—I’m at the house where the internet is awful!—have a safe and merry Christmas. I’ll be back soon to share some updates if I don’t get around to posting more images this week.
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