Sunday, December 15, 2013

Santa Exhibit at Oglethorpe University and more ...

Last September we went to an art exhibit at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.  I wrote a post about it called "An Exhibition in Atlanta" where I showed pictures of Picasso, Braque and Leger drawings and lithographs.  There was another exhibit at the time, courtesy of Coca-Cola, called "Haddon Sundblom, Santa Paintings" (see below in bottom right of poster.)  The exhibit has been extended until December 21, 2013 - see article here giving information.  I took pictures of the Santas then and kept them for a post in December - now is the time to show them.

 This is a post about the Coca-Cola Santa but first, I'll start with the "more ..." from my title, or give some of my observations.  I read about 150 blogs where I comment often and another 50 where I do not comment.  I have noticed that the blogs getting the most comments are blogs whose contents rarely include any controversial subjects; they mostly are about food, gardening, photographs, decorations, books, family, etc. (Let me add that I like these blogs or I would not comment on them - although many of them do not care for mine.)   Many blogs including critical points in their posts receive little comments or their discussions are ignored - mostly in the US that is.  Among the blogs I read many are in French - those blogs often address critical issues (some from French Canada, too.)  I believe this has to do with culture.  We carry the culture of the country where we were born - that culture is natural to us - it is our way of life.  French culture is vastly different from the culture of the United States - some even say it is as different as the culture of India or China.  Within France there are regional differences just like a person in Manhattan-New York would have different views from one in a small town in Alabama - and would vote differently too.

For example in the US people tend not to use politics or religion as a topic of discussion.  In France it is the opposite as most French people prefer "controversial" topics for conversation rather than sports or discussions about money.  One of the worse things in the US is to make someone feel "uncomfortable."  In France, or at least Paris, people are bored by safe subjects and will stop conversing.  I carry my French, or rather Parisian culture with me even though I can speak and write in English.  I could as little lose my culture as forget how to use a fork and knife - it is who I am.  If I talk about social issues, equality, the poor, the state of US education or try to research subjects fully, even if I find unpleasant histories - I'll write about them and am sorry if I make anyone uncomfortable.  So, since I had these Coca-Cola Santa photos last September I researched the subject.

Many people and even Web sites repeat that Santa Claus in the US came from the Dutch version called Sinterklass and was imported in New York from Dutch settlers - it vaguely evolved from this tradition but mostly not.  The old cult of Santa Claus comes from Pagan, Scandinavian, Christian, Dutch, German and English traditions.  For example the early Norsemen believed that their Goddess Hertha came down chimneys and brought luck to homes.  St. Nicholas of Myra (270-343) was a Greek Orthodox born in Asia Minor, now Turkey.  The legend of Saint Nicholas is that he gave gifts to little children and helped sailors.  He is venerated in the Orthodox Church, notably in Greece and Russia.

St. Nicholas, the Wonder-Worker,
(Св. Николай Чудотворец), Moscow 1677
"If anything happens to God, we have always got St.Nicholas" - Russian proverb

The reason I say the legend of St. Nicholas giving gifts to children is because the real history is confused and combined with many pagan rituals and gods - "Nicholas' existence is not attested by any historical document, so nothing certain is known of his life except that he was probably bishop of Myra in the fourth century ..." - Encyclopaedia Britannica 99.  In 1969 Pope Paul VI decreed that "there was doubt that [this saint and 39 others] ever existed."  He and 39 other saints have been dropped from the official Roman Catholic Calendar - St. Nicholas is now an "optional" fest day.  But still in many places St. Nicholas is the main gift giver.  On December 6th, his feast day or St. Nicholas Day, children receive gifts rather than on January 6th, Christian Orthodox Christmas Day or December 25th, Christian Christmas Day.


St. Nicholas of Myra, 10th Century icon

Grandfathers dress up like St. Nicholas and offer gifts to good children and presents of coal made of sugar if the children have been naughty. In 1087 St. Nicholas' relics (San Niccolo) were transferred to the Italian city of Bari, where they still rest now in the 11th century basilica of San Nicola.  Below is an Italian sculpture of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy.

St. Nicholas, being Greek/Turk was usually painted or shown with a dark complexion in ancient times (but not in modern ones!).

Charles W. Jones (1905-1989) was an American medievalist known outside scholarly circles for his research on the tradition of Santa Claus and the St. Nicholas' legend.  He wrote on these subjects where he explained forcefully that "There is no evidence that the cult of Santa Claus existed in New Amsterdam [New York] or for more than a century after British occupation."  He made a compelling case that this ritual did not cross the Atlantic because the Dutch were Reformation Dutch who believed that it was heresy and evil to venerate saints and they had severe laws prohibiting the celebration of St. Nicholas.  Santa Claus was consciously reconstructed in mid-19th century New York and was indeed an invented tradition.  In 1881, a cartoonist, Thomas Nast, made some illustrations of Santa showing him with a big belly in a red suit.  Below is the December 24, 1881, front page of Harper's Weekly with Thomas Nast's Santa Claus.

Until 1881 Santa was shown in different colored robes: blue, green, purple, brown, white in addition to red.  See the vintage postcards below.


The modern tradition of our Santa Claus was invented by writers (Washington Irving, Clement C. Moore, Charles Dickens, etc.)  and artists.  Norman Rockwell (American illustrator and painter, 1894-1978) painted Santa as well.  Below are some of his illustrations.

 At the Oglethorpe University Santa exhibition I read that our current figure of Santa was created by Coca-Cola in 1931 during the Depression to encourage people to drink Coke during winter.  He was drawn wearing a red and white suit as these are the colors of Coca-Cola.  The portrait of this Santa was so popular that in Iceland, in the 1930s, groups of men dressed in these Santa costumes were called "Coca-Cola Santa."  Click on picture to enlarge.


Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) was a leading illustrator who produced famous advertizing images including Aunt Jemima, the Quaker Oat Man and Santa Claus.  The Coca-Cola Company had contracted with Sundblom to create their "Coca-Cola Santa" paintings to be used in their marketing campaigns.

For inspiration Sundblom read Clement Mark Moore's 1822 poem "A visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas.") As other illustrators and artists had done he changed St. Nicholas' complexion from a Middle Eastern one to a white one.   For the next 33 years Sundblom painted portraits of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola as a cheerful, friendly and plump grandfather figure.  His original model was Lou Prentice, a neighbor.  In the 1950s after Prentice passed away Sundblom used himself as a model.  Sundblom created the modern image of Santa in the United States and everywhere else.  Sundblom's Coca-Cola Santa was reproduced on posters, magazines, billboards, calendars, and many other advertizing objects.  This commercial Santa is the one children love.

Through the years the portraits of Santa Claus have not changed much since Haddon Sundblom's first Santa.

Some of these drawings and paintings were exhibited at Oglethorpe University, courtesy of the Coca-Cola Corporation (and still are until next Saturday, December 21, 2013,) headquartered in Atlanta.  They are shown here courtesy of Coca-Cola and Oglethorpe University.



Santa Claus is more popular than ever.  An AP-GFK poll (Associated Press GFK) found that 3/4% of non-Christian adults believed gifts came down the chimney when they were children.  Santa is celebrated all over the world, in Christian countries, secular ones or countries with other religions.  In Communist China the Chinese celebrate Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man) with gifts and decorate their homes.

Our international Santa Claus (made in the USA) has little ties to the spirituality of Christianity - he was created by writers and artists then a large corporation to attract more business.  For example, the French Solis Institute (specializing in ethnic marketing) found after a poll in greater Paris, France, that 47.5% of Muslim from North Africa celebrate Noel with Santa - 15% using a pine tree, and 39% giving gifts to children.  Even many French Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Agnostics and Atheists celebrate Noel in France with Papa Noel (Santa Claus.)  The French word "Noel" comes from two Gallic words "Noio" (nouveau/new) and "el" (soleil/sun.)  It is now embraced as a "cultural" family tradition.  (A 2006 Harris Interactive Poll found that the French are: 32% Agnostic, 32% Atheist, 27% believe in some sort of God or a supreme being - of the Christians, only 5% report attending church on a regular basis - even though most French people say they are Catholics....)  The French are surprised to learn that in the US some people reject Santa Claus on any ground.  My cousin in France (in greater Paris) told me that on her streets, she sees many decorated trees at that time, some from Jewish families and some from families originally from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia among others - it is just a fun time for children and adults.

If our jolly Santa Claus can unite people of many backgrounds, faiths and cultures in peace and friendship - why not ?  This is certainly a good thing!  Whatever his origins, Santa Claus is a harmless figure spreading joy and happiness.  Let's celebrate! and a Joyeux Noel to all!


50 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

My blog is a mostly trivial one. Gardening, birds and books. And I do get a lot of (very welcome) comments. However, I am also lucky enough to get people responding when I post about more serious/contraversial issues. A reciprocal agreement perhaps?
I have difficulties with the Christmas season - the commercial elememt and the weight of impossible expectations means it is a challenging time for a lot of people. I expect that the crisis line I volunteer with will hear a LOT of pain over the next few weeks.
That said, I applaud the sentiments expressed in your final paragraph.
Sorry for the looong comment.
Have a wonderful Christmas.

Carola Bartz said...

I had not known about the Coca-Cola origin of Santa Claus, so I learned something here on your blog. Thank you. I myself am not a big fan of Santa. In Germany we celebrate St. Nikolaus when children in the night from 12/05 to 12/06 put out a boot and it is filled the next morning with sweets (I'm pretty sure that nowadays there are more than sweets). At Christmas Eve, when we give the gifts, it's Christkind (Christ child) who comes into the homes of families and leaves the gifts.
I agree with you about the topics for conversations in the US. In Germany we discussed so many controversial subjects, mainly politics, and it was totally okay. Here it is not, and I often miss it. I don't write about it on my blog either, but perhaps I should. At least a little bit more. As you said - it is in our culture, that culture is in us, it is who we are. I was 41 when I moved to the US - you simply can't discard 41 years. And I have absolutely no desire to do so.

DJan said...

I too avoid controversial subjects on my blog. I have found that the backlash in this country is not worth the price. Although I really enjoy visiting blogs that do raise these subjects, I am not so brave. I really enjoy reading your posts, VB, because I always learn something new. I had no idea that Santa came from Coca-Cola, but it makes perfect sense. :-)

Kay said...

This is so very interesting. I had no idea that Santa Claus originated from the Dutch Sinterklass. Wow! I think the present day Santa Claus looks an awful lot like the illustrator, Sundblom. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

David said...

Vagabonde, Yes, Santa Claus is too commercialized...but, to your point, the image or thought of Santa Claus can be unifying. To that I say Amen!(

FYI...When I was in college, I worked in a department store during Christmas as a Santa Claus. A scary photo of me as Santa will be posted on my blog on Christmas Eve)

As for controversy, I admit that I avoid it in my blog...primarily because many people cannot be rational about various issue...and compromise has become a dirty word. I welcome a healthy discussion of the issues but I know many people who are completely inflexible and will go off on a 'rant' if you take a stance for or against one of America's hot button topics. There is frequently no civility involved. Its sad but to be a little positive we do know a few people who are open to discussion without becoming belligerent. Many others want only to talk about themselves, family, their yard, pets, travel, food, activities, etc., i.e. nothing controversial.

So...I'll continue to blog about travel, food, restaurants, attractions/experiences and family. I don't want to fight with anyone...but I'm not offended if someone brings up a sensitive topic. It adds interest...until someone gets angry when you disagree!

I bow to you regarding the amount of research you do for you blogs. I thought that I did a bunch of work on mine, but I'm a lazy lout in comparison!

HO! HO! HO! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

French Girl in Seattle said...

Long time no talk to, Vagabonde. Wonderful post, so thoroughly researched! I am impressed. Best of all, I learned a lot while reading it.

I am French, like you, and I find political correctness (and the resulting small talk) in this country stifling. Even though I tackle issues with humor on my blog, I have been known to poke fun at local customs I do not agree with (as I did recently in my Thanksgiving post.)

And why not? Most readers of mine do not mind. It's all in the presentation, I think. You do not want to sound offensive when you can get your message across more… subtly.

As for Christmas - and Santa Claus - as a unifying event, I would tend to agree. I see nothing wrong with that. I must confess I have been tempted to write a story lately about the color of Santa's skin, after I heard some pretty idiotic stuff in the media. :-)

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Thérèse said...

Nice to know about the St. Nicholas' relics in Bari.
I am just so glad I still believe in Santa Claus and in controversial topics!

ELFI said...

je préfère saint Nicolas! il y a trop de sucre dans la boisson du père noël...:)))))

Nadezda said...

My blog is also about the garden and plants.
In Russia such a character as Santa Claus has not been. St. Nicholas the Wonder worker (I like the icon in your post) is always venerated.
Father Frost gives gifts at Christmas and New Year. I agree that the Dutch brought the tradition of Santa Claus in America

Cergie said...

Je n'ai pris conscience qu'il y a deux ans que traditionnellement St Nicolas, qui était évêque, est habillé en violet. D'ailleurs je viens de vérifier que les pains d'épice plats en provenance de la maison de l'Alsace à Paris sont décorés d'un St Nicolas paré de rouge...

OldLady Of The Hills said...

This was so very interesting to me---Coca Cola and Santa---I had no idea, and their advertising using the image of Coke with Santa never sunk in with me...lol! I love reading all the research you did and found out things I did not know, at all. I like the idea of Santa as a unifying image I realize there are many people who resent all the commercialization of Christmas---I wonder if they know about the Coca Cola connection?

As to writing about controversial subjects-----I write about anything and everything that interests me. Sometimes it can border on the controversial, but if that is the case, it is about a film or TV Show that covers something controversial that I feel something strongly about.

In general, my readership has gotten smaller and smaller as the years gave one on. So many people have either stopped blogging or they go on to Facebook now and either stopped blogging or blog and visit much less---It could also be that I have bored my readers to death----a possibility I cannot deny....lol

Jeanie said...

Your posts are so rich with information and so beautifully illustrated, they just captivate me. I look at them and then return to them. I will certainly return to this one for it's terrific history and wonderful pictures. Bravo and thanks for sharing the spirit!

Down by the sea said...

I was aware that the red Santa was mainly thanks to Coca-Cola. It's amazing how his fame has spread despite the link not being widely known.
Sarah x

Nadege said...

Thank you for enlightening us again! A merry Christmas to you and your family, as well as your readers!

Ginnie said...

What a fabulous history lesson about Santa Claus for this time of year, Vagabonde. Leave it to you, of course. :)

Astrid is so adamant every year to tell me their Sinterklaas (on Dec. 5 in Dutchland, Dec. 6 in Germany) has nothing to do with our Santa Claus. I always find that interesting. Also, for the Dutch Sinterklaas has nothing to do with Christmas (Dec. 25), which is strictly the religious part of the holiday. Sinterklaas is for gift-giving, not on Christmas day.

Anyway, I totally agree with your conclusion: let him unite us and not separate us (and let's not fight over if he's white of black, for god's sake!!!).

Pondside said...

As always, a post well worth reading, illustrated beautifully with images from far and near. You do it every time. I enjoyed this one - learned some new things and found myself nodding my head in agreement regarding the conversational habits of North Americans and Europeans.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Magic Love Crow said...

Fantastic post! I loved learning about all this history on Santa Clause ;o) Happy Ho Ho ;o)

Roger Gauthier said...

Ah !… Vagabonde, un message selon mon coeur.

Et pour faire bonne mesure, je cache mon commentaire en le plaçant devant tous… dans la langue de Molière ! Ha ha ha…

La controverse… tu as mille fois raison. Mes messages qui portent à controverse, et ils sont tout de même assez fréquents, reçoivent la plupart du temps peu de commentaires. Même de mes lecteurs français, sauf quelques-uns ! Étrange, n'est-ce pas ? Comme quoi tout n'est pas aussi tranché qu'il le semble parfois.

Une autre chose curieuse : mon nombre de lecteurs américains est en baisse constante. Il est vrai que je ne fais aucun "recrutement" mais tout de même… J'ai de plus en plus de lecteurs français, sud-américains, espagnols, est-européens, scandinaves… mais de moins en moins d'américains. Pire encore, un seul du Canada anglais. Les deux solitudes, c'est comme ça que nous appelons ça ici. Le Québec d'un côté, le reste du Canada de l'autre… deux peuples dans un seul pays, deux peuples qui ne se parlent jamais… deux solitudes.

Pour le reste, laisse tomber, ça vaut mieux. Contihue à publier tes messages fouillés à l'extrême, toujours intéressants. Et controversés si ça te chante, pourquoi pas ? C'est la vie.

Je vais te faire une autre confidence : mes meilleures images sont rarement des photos. Ce sont des dessins créés à partir d'un pinceau électronique, d'une tablette graphique et de Photoshop. Oui, ce sont souvent mes meilleures images.

Et peu de gens les commentent. Ce n'est pas ce à quoi ils s'attendaient.

Avant de te quitter, une dernière chose. Un de mes lecteurs est un peintre brésilien extraordinaire appelé Jaime Baiāo. Ses oeuvres sont complexes, parfois obscures, et frôlent souvent le génie. Presque personne ne les commente.

Such is Life… often an ugly thing.

Roger

Mae Travels said...

Your choice of early icons of St.Nicholas are quite fascinating, as are your plentiful facts about the evolution of Santa Claus over the centuries. I loved all the pictures of Santa in colors other than red!

I think the "controversy" over Christmas, including the statement that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white, are just as commercially-motivated as pictures of Santa drinking coke. Every year certain news channels boost their ratings and certain authors and politicians sell books or seek votes by threatening people about a war on Christmas. I have more respect for the people who sell Coke!

Mandy Southgate said...

What a fascinating post! I love your research into Saint Nick and the bits about Coca Cola. I had wondered what all the fuss was about and saw people calling for a boycott of Coke. My husband works for them so I keep far away from such discussions.

On controversial topics, they can come across as rants which stun readers but they can also be presented as discussions with an invitation to join in which you have done with great success. I write about controversial topics on my blog A Passion to Understand. I might not get comments but I do see people searching for information and finding what they are looking for. That is important too.

Miss_Yves said...

Belle documentation!
L'expo Braque au Grand palais est un succès, comme toutes ces grandes expos annuelles.

A propos de polémiques:

http://www.arte.tv/fr/7713730.html

Les robes bleu-vert du père Noël sur les cartes postales anciennes sont, à mon avis, un rappel du vert des sapins, et du naturalisme (voire du paganisme) attaché au personnage .

Depuis plusieurs années, le lien entre le père Noël et Coca Cola est mis en évidence en France, dans des articles, émissions, etc. La critique et la polémique sous-jacente n'arrêtent pas pour autant le commerce à cette période de l'année!

claude said...

Magnifique post, Vagabonde ! Dommage que le traducteur ne fonctionne pas,
mon anglais est tellement pauvre.
Curieux ces pubs coca-cola via Santa Claus.
Bises

Perpetua said...

What a fascinating post, Vagabonde. There's so much information there that I've bookmarked it to read again when I have more time. I grew up in northern England after the war and we always talked of Father Christmas, rather than Santa Claus, whom I always think of as an American figure.

Sciarada said...

Ciao Vagabonde, I like Santa Claus and I would have liked to see this beautiful and interesting exhibition about him!
I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy 2014!

claude said...

Chouette, le traducteur fonctionne ce matin.
Quel post intéressant !
Moi, le Père Noël je l'aime comme celui des pubs Coco-cola, mais sans la bouteille de coca à la main.
Le Père Noël est le meilleur évènement qui puisse arriver à un enfant.
Quant aux sujets controversés, j'évite de parler politique sur mon blog et pourtant des fois ce n'est pas l'envie qui m'en maque, surtout en ce moment avec tout ce qui se passe ici. Je ne parle pas de religion non plus. Tu peux continuer à suivre mon voyage, c'est loin d'être fini.
Bises

bayou said...

Ici, c'est plutôt Saint Nicolas qui vient mais pas dans notre maison. Comme ça, les jumeaux ont deux grands événements au mois de décembre. Je vous souhaite des joyeuses fêtes de fin d'années et surtout une nouvelle année plein de santé et prospérité.

Cynthia said...

I like your last paragraph a lot.
I learned some interesting things about Santa Claus that I did not know. I have some old postcard greeting cards from the 1800s that have Santas wearing blue and green and I have always liked them a lot.

Retired English Teacher said...

What a collection! You always find the most interesting places to visit. I don't know how you had time to put it all together. Thank you for doing so. I loved it!

Ratty said...

That was extremely fun, reading and looking at your history of Santa Claus. I've never really seen a history of him before.

HWIT BLOGG said...

Hi!
What a LOVELY blog you have...I really like it! I enjoyed yhis post very much!
Have a nice weekend, take care!
Titti

Patrice said...

One of my saddest memories as a small child was learning (a bit too early) that Santa did not exist. My Mom tried to console me, but my older brother and his friends teased me for believing... sigh.

Thank you for your kind words regarding my losses this past year. I've five cats over the age of 12, one who is 15 and one who is 17. All one can do is love them.

As a cat person, I do quite like you avatar.

Stewart M said...

Interesting post! Good to see how the Big Fella has changed over the years - looked a bit slimmer in the past as well as a different colour!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Rob-bear said...

My goodness! Such a long and detailed post. "Everything you wanted to know about Santa, but didn't know who to ask (peut-être)? Well, now I know.

Also thanks for visiting my poetry blog.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

A la prochaine!

Susan ~ Southern Fascinations said...

Very interesting history of Santa. Was just discussing much the same with friends last evening. Funny, the one most knowledgable did not celebrate Christmas until a few years ago due to her former religion. Seems she had a lot of catching up to do! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

shoreacres said...

Such a rich and enjoyable entry.

I was caught by your reference early on about the differences between regions in any culture. I experienced those differences in quite a personal way when I visited France for the first time and fled Paris for Chartres after a terrifying (for me) encounter with a restroom attendant at the Gare du Nord! I was very young and traveling along, and quite unprepared to be shrieked at in Parisian French! I recovered, and traveled on in complete happiness.

Your information about Santa is fascinating. There was a framed postcard in my Swedish grandparents' home of a slim Santa, dressed in blue. I remember asking about it, and being told that my grandmother's friend Ingrid had sent it from Sweden. It's interesting to see him pop up again. The postcard is long gone, of course.

I ran out of Christmas season this year, and will have to wait to post my personal history with Santa. He came to my house every year, from my pre-school years through college. My first gift from him was a floating soap dish shaped like a duck. My last was Chanel #5. Whatever his history, one thing is certain - Santa's no fool!

Jocelyn said...

As ever, I finished reading your post feeling better educated than when I began. I even had my husband lean over my shoulder to look at the vintage postcards and to read the part about Coca-Cola Santa. So interesting!

You are completely correct about Americans and controversial discussions. The majority of Americans are unable to engage in such discourse while remaining civil. They excel at black & white thinking, when the truth is that all the best discussions take place in areas of grey.

EG CameraGirl said...

So many ideas of what Santa, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas... It's kind of sad that the North American version is beginning to become the dominant one.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Wow! Great post as always!
Merry Christmas to you and yours! Best wishes for the New Year!

Vicki Lane said...

What a gift for all of us! I knew some of the history of Santa Claus and Coca Cola's part in the image but you pull it all together so well -- and illustrate it magnificently to boot.

I mostly avoid controversy on my blog but when I'm on Facebook I do get political now and then. I enjoy discussing controversial topics as long as the discourse remains civil and reasoned. There are, however, some folks who aren't reasonable...

A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours! I look forward to following your posts in the coming year!

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

How fun to see Santas from around the world. My favorites are of course the Coca Cola Santa of my youth and the vintage cards that remind me of my German relatives who sent German ornaments and chocolates to us as children. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Santa Claus could unite the world, at least for a day.

Joyeux Noel to you and your family.
Sam

Pat said...

There is nothing quite like a good old -fashioned Santa.
There have been outraged parents over here in the UK when they have taken their children to grottos and the Father Christmas has been disappointingly young , sometime quite scruffy looking and depressing to both the children and adults.
The ones in your pictures are ideal.
With regard to blogs - since my husband died suddenly in January I find that my work load has doubled and from day to day I don't know if or what I will write about. But my blogging friends have been so supportive and comforting I am reluctant to stop. So I go on - doing the best I can.
You put some of us to shame but then we cater for a wide variety of tastes and sometimes people are lonely and just want the equivalent of a chat.
One thing I am proud of is the fact that I answer all comments
so it is like a conversation.

All Season's greetings to you and your husband and may 2014 be a happy healthy year for you.

kaykuala said...

Very exhaustive and educative, Vagabonde! Very well researched too! Never realized the connection of Santa to Coca Cola. A lot of info here rarely seen the likes of.Very fitting for the festive season. Merry Christmas to you,Ma'am!

Hank

Kenza said...

Chère Vagabonde, je viens te souhaiter un joyeux Noël et de très belles fêtes de fin d'année!

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

¸.•°♡♡⊱彡
Je viens te souhaiter un JOYEUX NOËL !

⋱ ⋮ ⋰
⋯ ✰ ⋯
⋰ ⋮ ⋱


░J░O░Y░E░U░X
░N░O░Ë░L░

GROSSES BISES ensoleillées !!!
¸.•°♡♡⊱彡

Niall & Antoinette said...

Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas.

Sinterklaas is still the celebration for giving presents to children in the Netherlands although it is under pressure from an Anglo-style Christmas. Mostly families now celebrate both.

BTW the southern part of the Netherlands never went Protestant [south of the big rivers] at the Reformation; it stayed Catholic.

Hilary said...

You sure put a lot of research into this fine post. What a fun exhibit to see. I'm glad you had the foresight to save this part of it for this season. Thanks for all the info and great photos.

Miss_Yves said...

Une surprise pour vous, avec mes remerciements, via Claude
http://photograff.blogspot.fr/2013/12/dominos-at-home.html

Meilleurs voeux pour 2014 !

Vagabonde said...

Thank you to all my dear blogging friends for taking the time to come, read my post and leave a comment. In this busy season it takes time to read my long post and I appreciate your finding the time to visit me.

Vagabonde said...

Merci à tous mes amis bloggeurs d’avoir pris le temps de venir, d’avoir lu mon post et d’avoir laissé un commentaire. Mes billets sont longs - j’apprécie votre visite. Vous êtes gentils comme tout.

Elaine said...

Very interesting post! I very much enjoy the Santa story, and I think he appeals to many people because of his message of love and sharing, which seems to be so lacking in our world. If only he were real....

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