Christmas Pictures in the form of posters
Christmas pictures are a prominent part of celebrations today, all over the world, mostly in the form of Christmas Cards.
Some of these images have become classics, some have been preserved as fine art, others as posters. In America Norman Rockwell had his own take on Christmas in several well known illustraions and paintings - Christmas Pictures.
In cooperation with Allposters we are presenting on this page a series of images, including some by Rockwell and Nast, available to you.
Thomas Nast, the talented young cartoonist employed by Harper’s Weekly, when he first illustrated an edition of "A Visit" in 1863 hewed closely to Moore's perception of St. Nick. His Christmas Pictures - sketches of Santa changed little during the Civil War. Soon after, however, Nast begin what would become a thirty‑year project to create an entire world for Santa.
When Nast redrew these same images of Santa’s life for a book of children's verse the following year, he gave Santa what was to become his characteristic dress, a bright red suit trimmed in white ermine.
Another of Nast's contributions to the lore of Santa Claus was a drawing that has become something of an official portrait of Santa. It appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1881 and presented a round‑cheeked, white‑haired and bearded old fellow dad in a furry red coat. One hand cradled a long stemmed pipe. The other rested lightly on his generously rotund middle, enabling him to hold a wooden horse, a doll, and other playthings in the crook of his arm.
Nast trimmed Santa’s hat with a sprig of holly and made him in other ways "traditional" in appearance.
At the same time, others also had begun to describe a life for Santa outside the confines of the house in which "A Visit” took place. Some experimented boldly.
Together with his wife, he delighted in arranging the armloads of gifts that stores delivered to their home on Christmas Eve. On Christmas mornings, their children recalled, there was always a multitude of paper dolls - marvelously big and elaborate paper dolls arranged in processions and cavalcades.
In all, Nast’s fanciful Christmas pictures and drawings illuminated a wide sphere of Santa’s rule in the late nineteenth century. Moore had already supplied him with eight reindeer to pull his sleigh. Nast gave him more stockings to stuff, a workshop, ledgers to record children's conduct, and more children to please. He made him taller and dressed him in red.
To this, Nast and others added a home at the North Pole, elves, a wife, and even, by some accounts, children. These amplifications drew upon conditions of the nation's material and spiritual life and imparted to Santa an ever more human and credible dimension.
Consider, for example, Santa’s home at the North Pole. Exactly how it came to be is not clear. One historian suggested that after Santa adopted the sled as his mode of transportation, it was easy to move his homeland progressively northward to where the snow lasted year round.
But he offered no evidence of earlier homelands. The beginning point of Santa’s journeys had always been rather vague and often mysterious. One wrote that Santa Claus arrived from Spain, in a Dutch ship filled with toys, and docked each Christmas Eve in New York.
A later version, from New York City, said that he came "from the frozen regions of the North." More frequently, however, Santa seemed simply to appear and then to disappear after distributing his gifts."