It all began approximately 100 years ago when the world decided to make Christmas less about Jesus and more about children and the celebration of Santa.
A few years ago, during a trip to the mountains of Georgia just before Christmas, we stayed in a hotel where I read an article from the USA TODAY newspaper columnist Jocelyn McClurg titled: ‘Christmas’ a fascinating look at history of holiday, who had read the book, “CHRISTMAS – A BIOGRAPHY” by London based author Judith Flanders. McClurg says the author provides a detailed history about Christmas from biblical times to present.
The following are a few points that grabbed my attention as I read her review, and the facts she found while reading the book:
“Santa and his suit: He has been called St. Nicholas and Father Christmas, but how did we get the jolly image of Santa we know today? Think Coke! in the 1821 book, The Children’s Friend, he was “Old Santeclaus” and shown as a tiny bearded man driving a tiny, reindeer-drawn sleigh.” McClurg continues, “Later in the 19th Century, illustrator Thomas Nest, drew Santa as a fat, bearded fellow. But, it was Coca-Cola’s ad campaign, begun in the 1930’s using Haddon Sundblom’s sunny illustrations, that centered Santa as a white-bearded man wearing a red jacket trimmed with white fur, belted across a substantial belly, red trousers and black boots, and, frequently a red pointed hat with white fur trim.”
The article solidified my theory – greed. The marketing ploys of corporations began to transform what we have known to be a Holy Season, centered around the birth of Jesus, to Santa and children. Coca-Cola may have been the spark that inspired other marketers including Montgomery Ward (also mentioned in the article) when in 1939 gave Rudolph his shiny red nose.
Don’t get me wrong, I love children, and I love celebrating Christmas by exchanging gifts, but as parents my husband and I vowed to teach our children that Christmas was about Jesus and not Santa. Our children learned early on that their gifts came from Mom, Dad and Family.
Did we scar them by teaching the truth? I don’t believe so. Each Christmas they shared the same excitement of opening gifts as we did as children, but with the proper emphasis: Jesus.
It’s my personal prayer that more and more families will turn back the hands of time by teaching their children and Grandchildren the truth: It’s All About Jesus.
An excerpt from my book: LOVE AWAKENS