Did you know that Thomas Nast is credited with creating our popular image of Santa Claus? Above is one of Thomas Nast's earliest published works of Santa Claus and Christmas Traditions. Nast's illustrations appeared in Harper's Weekly newspapers in the years 1863 -1865. This is a fabulous source of information on the History of Santa Claus, and the origins of our Christmas Traditions. It can be seen that our popular image of Santa was first introduced by Nast during the Civil War. Thomas Nast's picture of Santa would continue to evolve over the years, but it is fascinating to study these early images and spot all the Santa traditions that we still practice today.
Above is a very early Nast drawing of Santa Claus created in 1865. This is a nice detailed drawing of Santa Claus, and you can see that Santa has not changed much in the last 140 years. This drawing helped to launch our image of Santa Claus that endures today. The illustration is surrounded by inset images showing Christmas traditions of the Civil War years.