I have blogged about Christmas in the past so I thought that I would continue the tradition of showing more connections of Christmas and the Civil War.
This time I am going to focus on a famous sketch of “Merry Old Santa Claus” by Thomas Nast.
This sketch appeared in the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. In this photo we see “Merry Old Santa Claus” clad with toys, a pack on his back, his hat adorned with holly leaves and smoking his clay pipe. This early images of Santa have remained a
So, let’s do a little seek and find. Can you find the following:
- A baby doll
- A pocket watch
- A book
- An officers sword
- A belt with a US buckle
- A toy horse
So, from my family to yours, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
On January 3, 1863, Harper’s Weekly ran the following Thomas Nast image of Santa Claus visiting the Civil War Soldiers
What can you see in the picture? There is so much to see in this photo. From the drummer boys playing with the Jack-in-the-box to the troops chasing a pig in the background (notice one soldier falling down in the chase).
How about a little seek and find. Can you find:
- a drum
- a soldier with a pipe
- Santa’s Reindeer
- two American Flags
- A soldier with a stocking
- a soldier climbing a pole
This image is fun to look at and rich in details. I love the outfit that Santa is wearing, the soldiers in their great coats, the Sibley tents and the “Welcome Santa” sign. According to an brief article in the paper, Santa is showing the soldiers “Jeff Davis’s future. He is tying a cord pretty tightly around his neck, and Jeff seems to be kicking very much at such a fate.” The article also says that a group of soldiers in the background are playing football.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
The above illustration by Thomas Nast is entitled “Christmas Eve, 1862″ and is from an 1862 issue of Harper’s Weekly. On the right side of the illustration is a Civil War soldier on duty sitting next to a fire on a cold night. In addition to holding his musket, he is holding a photo of his family. Behind him are other soldiers sitting next to a tree and standing guard. On the left side is his wife, kneeling in prayer with their children “nestled all snug in their beds.”
Look closely in the upper left portion of the illustration and you can see Santa (complete with reindeer) getting ready to head down the chimney. In the upper right Santa is delivering presents to soldiers in the field. All the while, the Civil War is raging below them in the form of both a land and a sea battle. And in between, the hardships of war, graves of fallen soldiers.
So, on this Christmas Eve, let us pause to remember those families who have loved ones serving in our military and pray for their safe return home.