The Stationers Guild

Did Abraham Lincoln Invent Santa?

Several years ago when I was doing some research into the origins of exchanging Christmas greeting cards, I discovered that President Abraham Lincoln may have inspired the creation of the popular image of Santa Claus during the Civil War.   Famed political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, is credited with the creation of the Santa Claus by “taking a minor Central European folk saint, dimly recalled from his German childhood… coming down the chimney and shaking with joy… “   According to some long-lost hyperlink that has now faded into Internet oblivion, President Lincoln requested Thomas Nast to create a holiday figure to raise the morale of the Union troops during the Civil War. According to legend this was the birth of the now iconic Santa figure.

Recent “revisionist” history – probably closer to the truth – suggests that the image of Santa Claus evolved over time culminating in the classic Santa in a 1931  Coca Cola ad.

1931 Coca Cola Advertisement

1931 Coca Cola Advertisement

Some have suggested that the popular Santa icon is a symbol of American materialism.  I prefer to view him as a belly-full of joy and excitement that fuels the energy of children of all ages during the holiday season.  Nevertheless, I might suggest that in this age of over-indulgence, a Diet Coke would be more appropriate for our collective waistlines.

While the popular Santa figure continues to grace many Christmas cards as this example from William Arthur’s latest holiday collection demonstrates,  I believe that holiday greeting cards featuring Santa have greatly diminished in recent years.

William Arthur Christmas Card

William Arthur Christmas Card

I have no idea if this trend is similar in other parts of the country, but clearly the celebration of Christmas and the holiday season has become distinctly less frivolous if this year’s selection of holiday greeting cards is any indication. While Santa greeting cards may not be quite as popular, the craftspeople and designers have been hard at work producing this year’s beautiful selection of Christmas cards, holiday greeting cards and stunning new photo cards.   Greeting cards and photo cards continue to be the perfect way to share your family’s news with friends this holiday season.

Visit a stationery store in your neighborhood to see this year’s selection of inspired Christmas cards and creative holiday greeting cards.  Better yet, act now and take advantage of many sales promotions for holiday cards.

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply