Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Merry Winter

I'm sure someone has done exegetical work on how Santa's portrait in the classic poem of 1823, "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," got so altered by popular perception, but I don't recall ever having read any. Note these differences.

* No red suit.
"He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot"

* His descent down the chimney doesn't leave him pristine.
"And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot"

* He's small.
"a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer"

* He's chubby and plump, not huge.
"He had a round face, and a little round belly"

I'm also curious as to the significance of his "laying his finger aside of his nose" before he swoops back up the chimney.

If anybody has any insights, I'd be delighted to read them.

Mr. Jumping Chocolate Pudding and I take off today for 10 days with my parents and siblings and nephews and nieces and cousins and aunts and uncles; no blogging till I get back. My beloved spouse, to my sorrow, cannot get the time off from work to join us. We weren't planning to go at all at this time, but because of my dad's health we're going. As I've mentioned, he has terminal cancer. Although his most recent scan results showed remarkably positive response to chemotherapy, and he's feeling better than he has in a year, the doctor was terribly grim in giving the news, not wanting to instill hope. Some people survive for years with my dad's diagnosis, but they're a tiny minority. It seems to me that the response my dad has had to his treatment is as good as we could hope for for now. As for the future, we shall see. It'll be good to be there with everybody.

Merry Winter, everybody.
Peace on earth, good will toward humankind.
The transformation of the Santa Claus image into what it still remains today is courtesy of the Coca Cola Company which first featured that clean, red-suited, rolly-polly image in their print advertisements of the 1920s or so (I forget the actual date).

John, I'm pretty sure it was Thomas Nast, the Harper's magazine cartoonist, who was responsible creating the modern Santa image.
P.S. This was in the mid-/late-19th century.
John, I'm pretty sure it was Thomas Nast, the Harper's magazine cartoonist, who was responsible creating the modern Santa image.

Nope. Nast's Santa bore only a slight resemblance to the Coca Cola Santa that forever standardized the image as we know it today. That was in the late 1920's - early 1930s (again, not sure of the exact date, but it was early 20th century, not the 19th).

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