Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

December 4, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Greensburg — It is the belief of many, that the original “Santa Claus” was St Nicholas of Myra, born in 300 A.D.

The only child of affluent parents, he was orphaned at the age of three and sent to a monastery. At the age of 17 he became a priest with a compassion for those in poverty. Through the remainder of his life he systematically gave away his fortune to those in need, especially the children.

According to legend, he was known for dropping bags of gold coins down chimneys, some of which would land in the stockings that had been hung there to dry. In his advanced years, Nicholas was elevated to the position of Bishop. The common garb for bishops in that time was a long flowing robe trimmed in fur and a red cape. Does this sound familiar? After his death, he was elevated to sainthood and incorporated into the Catholic celebration of Christmas.

When the Reformation made the figure of Saint Nicholas undesirable to many Protestant denominations, the Christmas gift-giver took on a number of new forms. In France he was called Pere Noel, in England Father Christmas, Russian children referred to him as Father Frost, and to the Dutch he was Sinterklass. Through all of his many transformations two things remained constant: his white beard and his generosity to children.

Santa Claus, as we know him today, first appeared in the 1823 Clement C. Moore poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, where he is described as “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.” This figure was popularized in 1863 with a series of illustrations by Thomas Nast that appeared in Harper’s Weekly, and permanently etched in our minds with the Haddon Sundlbom Coca-Cola Santa’s which appeared on the back covers of National Geographic and the Saturday evening Post from 1931 to 1964. It is the Coca-Cola Santa, with his red suit trimmed in white fur, and wearing a black belt and boots, that is considered the image of the “modern” Santa.

Today’s collectors watch for Santa figures from the late 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s. These Santa’s are dressed in robes, rather than the “modern” red suit. Robes made of mohair or fur are the most desirable. Older examples will seldom be found in red, but are in the Victorian era colors of purple, brown, white, blue, green, and occasionally in yellow. Many Santa’s from this era were were handcrafted in Germany and are referred to as a “Belsnickle”, a German term meaning Father Christmas.

In addition to figures, Santa candy containers and tree ornaments are popular with collectors. The tree ornaments will often be made of blown or spun glass, and the candy containers will be made, at least in part, of paper mache’.

Early Santa postcards, crepe paper foldouts, paper mache forms and greeting cards are growing in popularity and in value. In the area of Christmas paper collectibles, age is a definite factor in determining value. However, excellent condition is imperative no matter the age.

A heads-up for all of you “Baby Boomers”: Be sure to take good care of any childhood Christmas decorations that you may have. Chalk Santa’s, bubble lights, clip on birds for the tree, and plastic Santa’s from the 50’s and 60’s are starting to catch the eye of collectors.

Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional estate liquidator specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the valuation of estates and may be reached at 317-356-8967 or lkennett@indy.rr.com.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014

  • Shining a light on the Federal Reserve If you are like most Americans, you probably have heard of the Federal Reserve. But, you may not know much about what the Fed actually does or the very real ways its decisions impact your day-to-day life. The Federal Reserve was founded by Congress i

    July 22, 2014

  • Expiring term heightens the urgency of lawmaker's mission INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrant

    July 22, 2014

  • fea-gb072214 Spaulding column jpg Spaulding Outdoors: The inside on Indiana's outside Free beginner waterfowl hunting workshopsTwo free waterfowl hunting workshops for beginners will be offered in August and September by the Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the workshops is on hunting Canada geese, although there will be

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thankful for our veterans' sacrifice On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a new nation. To Great Britain and the rest of the world, the U.S. proclaimed itself the proud home of free people. Since that day, on more than one occasion, this freedom h

    July 17, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 17, 2014

  • Pat Smith: Undiscovered treasures in the home Last week I wrote about finding a certificate showing that my husband had purchased 15 shares of the “Souvenir Stock of Greensburg Community Centennial, Inc held in 1959. What I found nearby was even more intriguing; at least, it was to me. It is a v

    July 16, 2014

  • What's in the attic? Shoes! Shoes reflect our personality, our fashion sense, our role in society and our mood on any given day. Without a word they say, soccer mom, corporate executive, medical technician or going nowhere, doin’ nothing’. Last year in the US more than 350 mill

    July 16, 2014

  • Road to funding Indiana highways jammed INDIANAPOLIS – If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ri

    July 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.