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The Image of Santa Claus in the United States


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And Now Santa's Image Changes Again
The Image of Santa Claus in the United States
Public Domain Image

Up to this point, Santa's physical appearance and the color of his suit were open to individual interpretation. Then in 1863, Thomas Nast, a German immigrant, gave us a visual image of the cheerful giver that was to later become widely accepted.

When Nast was asked to illustrate Moore's charming verse for a book of children's poems, he gave us a softer, kinder Santa who was still old but appeared less stern than the ecclesiastical St. Nicholas. He dressed his elfin figure in red and endowed him with human characteristics. Most important of all, Nast gave Santa a home at the North Pole. For twenty-three years, his annual drawings in Harpers Weekly magazines set the stage for the shaping of today's merry gentleman.

Go to page 4 and you will begin to see what our modern day Santa looks like.

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