Merry Old Santa Claus from the 19th century. Our image of the week

With Christmas only hours away, today’s image of the week is a classic 19th century image of Santa.

Merry Old Santa Claus from the 19th century. Our image of the week

The origins of Christmas go very far back. Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, first dates to over 1500 years ago. Indeed, Saint Nicholas is a Greek saint from the fourth-century. Later in this Christmas tradition came Sinterklaas in Holland and Father Christmas in the UK.

But various factors caused Santa to become more well-known and more popular. Many people believe that it was Coca-Cola who invented Santa (in fact, a colleague of mine who used to work at Coca-Cola also claimed that), but that is not quite true. There are various images and references to Santa in both the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Our image of the week shows a drawing of Santa from Harper’s Weekly in 1881 entitled ‘Merry Old Santa Claus.’ It was drawn by Thomas Nast and went a long way to showing the Santa we know and love today. Santa is smoking his pipe, has what appears to be mistletoe in his hair, and has hands overflowing with toys and other gifts.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Did you miss last week’s Christmas image on the World War I miracle? Click here to find out more!

George Levrier-Jones