Sunday, December 23, 2007

Where did 'Santa' come from?

I have been reading up on this subject, and learned that one of the people that poopularized our image of Santa (jultomten) was an American-Swede working as an advertisement artist for Coca-Cola in America, Haddon Sundblom.

In the 1930s, he conceived a rotund and jolly fellow wearing a red suit, wide black belt and black boots. Haddon gave him sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks and a bottle of Coca-Cola. (link)
Each year from 1931 to 1964 Haddon Sundblom created a new Santa for Coca-Cola's "thirst knows no season" campaign. (link)

Before Haddon, Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper's Magazine in the US had drawn the first santa as a man with a beard and a fur suit.

Of course people had been worshiping St. Nicholas (called Sinterklaas in Dutch, and 17th century Dutch settlers brought the gift giving tradition to America) since Medieval times, and he was a Catholic saint that had cared deeply about the poor.

There must be some link between the gnomes (tomte) of Sweden and Santa's hat too, anything else would be impossible. Also, I wonder if the rein deers have anything to do with the old goat traditions?

Also, report from our Christmas tree: The cats have not yet climbed up into the tree to get to the ornaments (=toys in their minds), but they drink the water out of the tree base. When we cut the tree at the local christmas tree farm, we found a bird's nest in it. We defrosted the nest, and now it is back in the tree, here in our living room. Pictures are coming later...

Santa's wish list, as I imagine it:

  1. No more global warming (save those glaciers and pack ice in the Arctic)
  2. Al Gore for president
  3. Drink less Coca-Cola and loose weight
  4. Free all rein deers and let them eat lichens
  5. No presents to sitting American presidents
  6. Health care to all Americans (the last western country in the world without health coverage for all citizens, I think)
  7. More snow in Sweden and in America on Christmas
  8. Reusable wrapping paper, recycle, recycle
  9. LED lights on the Santa wagon
  10. More homemade and activity presents for children, less poisonous junk and things that break
  11. Peace on Earth...

1 comment:

EH said...

The local old gnomes in Sweden where, I believe clothed in grey vadmal (woolen cloth) and not red dress. The thing about Santa is strange, he now looks the same all over the world with the same China-made plastic face. Ours had a fringe of sheeps wool, a beard of cotton wool and a funny red hat. MH realized it was his uncle...