A very brief history of Christmas trees and Santa’s suit.
#1. Santa’s identity crisis
Did you know that back in the day Santa sometimes wore green? Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine him in anything but red. In 1863 Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist, created the Santa image we know today. There’s a myth that says the Coca Cola Company invented jolly old St Nick in the 30s. But in fact, they weren’t even the first beverage company to use him in their campaigns. He had also been used to sell mineral water and ginger ale – what a popular guy.
#2. Shopping – from shopping centres to smartphone apps
People used to actually walk into stores and shop for gifts. Really. And in some cases, this is still true. But with life being so damn busy, who has time for that? Myer has caught on to this and developed an app – even better than a personal shopper. Launched in time for Christmas, the app allows you to create your own cards, book visits with Santa and do your gift shopping. Welcome to the online world, St Nick.
#3. Trees – real vs fake
The first Christmas tree – at least the first one that was recorded – was displayed and decorated in 1510 in Latvia. The trees are essentially to celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s. Either that, or people are just too lazy to take it down post-Christmas food coma. For thousands of years people have used real trees or plants as Christmas trees but with so many people living in the city or apartments, fake trees have become the norm. Fun fact: In the “olden times” if you couldn’t afford a real tree, people would make pyramids with wood, to look like trees, and decorate them with paper, apples, and candles. I guess people have been faking it for longer than we thought.
Originally, Christmas was solely a religious occasion, but a lot has changed since the birth of Christ. Think about how many people you know who care more about the religious aspect of Christmas rather than the excitement of a new laptop? It might be sad, but unfortunately it’s true. Our society has become more materialistic and somehow under all the wrapping paper, bows and packaging the meaning of Christmas got lost. That’s not to say all religious aspects of Christmas are gone, it just seems that in this battle, the toys are winning.
#5. Milk and cookies
Santa burns a lot of calories delivering gifts to kids all over the world, so it’s only natural that he would need a snack – milk and cookies. Since the 30s this has been Santa’s favourite treat. Because he travels the globe, he’s not a fussy eater and enjoys all sorts of cookies and every type of milk left for him. The only change this tradition has had is whether the cookies are homemade or packaged. And, my mum told me to leave him a glass of scotch for those gruelling nights.
#6. The actual date of Christmas
When the baubles and tinsel go up after Halloween, you’re sure to hear people fret “Christmas comes earlier every year!” Well, this is probably the only thing that hasn’t changed one bit pre-Christmas. Christmas has always been and will always be (we think) on December 25. So calm down, have some egg nog, and be on your merry way. – Melina Morry
Photo of Father Christmas promoting a Coke from mysquawkbox.com.