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Which Santa is Yours?

HISTORICALLY CY-FAIR
Which Santa is Yours?

| December 1, 2017

 The sitting cardboard Santa;


The sitting cardboard Santa;

Santa Claus has been around for many generations in America. The custom seems to be rooted in British and Dutch lore with some German aspects added along the way. The image of Santa Claus that remains with us today came from the 1823 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. The description in the poem is a jolly old elf with red coat trimmed in fur, black boots and belt with rosy cheeks, a white beard and a pipe. He carried a sack of toys which he left in the stockings hung from the mantel. Of course that poem is known today from a book, The Night before Christmas and almost 200 years later it is still prominent at Christmas time.

But the mental image each of us carry in our heads is not that depicted by a cartoonist in 1823 but one we commonly encountered during our own personal youth when Santa Claus was a significant being in our life. The image I see in my mind when I think or say the word Santa Claus is that from the Coca Cola advertisements during the 1950s. We even had a cardboard Coca Cola Santa Claus made to sit atop a Coke machine. That Santa was always perched on the piano or table near our family Christmas tree. Today it is one of my most precious family heirlooms.

Santa Claus has morphed over time. He no longer smokes a pipe. He is not quite so pudgy. He is more often than not a large man, not a tiny elf. I loved the movie Polar Express in which the main character, a young boy beginning to doubt Santa exists, travels to the North Pole to see Santa lift off for the busy night of Christmas Eve. The young boy cannot ever catch a glimpse of Santa to actually look upon his face to confirm beyond all doubt his existence. The climax of the story is when he finally looks on Santa’s face and believes. There is a generation of young people whose “Santa” is that one. For some people it is the first mall Santa they were photographed with or remember. Books, cartoons and movies provide each generation with their own personal image and the tradition continues. For me, I will watch Miracle on 34th Street again and remember how wonderful Christmas can be for our children and grandchildren.

Cypress Top Historic Park will again be decorated for Christmas. We hope you come and make some memories there with your family. Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park is located at 26026 Hempstead Highway. Contact them at cypresstop@pct3.com or 281-357-5324. The Cypress Historical Society is in the California Poppy-yellow train depot replica in the back of the park. The Society has genealogy and historical information for the greater Cypress area. Contact them at cypresshistsociety@att.net or 281-758-0083. If you have questions or comments about this article please contact Fred Collins at fcndc@juno.com.

The author (l) with his cousin Hank and that Santa circa 1956.

The author (l) with his cousin Hank and that Santa circa 1956.

 

Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.

 

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