Inventing Xmas

Christmas is over but “the holidays” continue.

As you recover from over-eating, you might enjoy reading about how America’s modern Christmas traditions were born. has a concise guide. One interesting tidbit on the first depiction of the modern Santa:

Santa’s suit features the stars and stripes of the American flag, and he’s distributing Christmas packages to the soldiers. One soldier is holding up a new pair of socks, which might be a boring present today, but would have been a highly prized item in the Army of the Potomac.

Beneath Nast’s illustration was the caption, “Santa Claus In Camp.” Appearing not long after the carnage at Antietam and Fredericksburg, the magazine cover is an apparent attempt to boost morale in a dark time.

If you saw the Colbert Christmas Special, you might remember Toby Keith singing “Santa Claus and Uncle Sam are one and the same.” I guess there was more truth to that than is widely recognized!