Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa Claus is a Pipe Smoker

Santa Claus as we know him became part of America's cultural heritage in the 1850's 
through the combined influence of Clement Clarke Moore's poem,  
 
Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863)
 a Visit from Saint Nicholas, 
 
 
 
 
and Thomas Nast's subsequent illustrations of Santa Claus published in Harper's Magazine. 
 
Portrait of Thomas Nast from Harper's Weekly, 1867
 
 Both verses and drawings confirm that Santa Claus is a Pipe Smoker.
 
 
 
 
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house  
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;  
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,  
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;  
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;  
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,  
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,  
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,  
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
 
 1864 drawing, Clement Moore's poem, a Visit from St Nicholas

Away to the window I flew like a flash,  
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.  
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow  
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
 
1862 drawing, Clement Moore's poem, a Visit from St Nicholas, N. Orr engraver
 
 When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,  
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,  
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.  
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,  
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
 
Thomas Nast, Harper's December 1865
 “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!  
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!  
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”  
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;  
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,  
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.  
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof  
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
  
Thomas Nast, Harper's December 1867
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,  
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.  
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,  
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;  
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.  
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!  
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!  
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow  
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
 
1868, Santa in an ad for Sugar Plums

 The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,  
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; 
 
Thomas Nast, Harper's December 1871
 He had a broad face and a little round belly,  
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.  
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;  
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,  
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;  
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,  
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
 
Thomas Nast, Harper's January 1874
And laying his finger aside of his nose,  
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;  
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,  
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle, 
 
Thomas Nast, Harper's December 1876
 
 
 But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

                                               Clement Clark Moore 1823






Thomas Nast, Harper's January 1881









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