Creating Santa Claus

Dear Reader:

What Charles Dickens did to revive celebrating Christmas in England ( holiday was sparsely celebrated in his day) by his memorable tale in A Christmas Carol, German immigrant and political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, did to create the image of the modern Santa Claus through his Harper’s Magazine’s illustrations over decades.

The familiar Santa Claus today… round-bellied, ruddy-nosed, pipe smoker, white hair/beard and ” Ho Ho ho’er” came from many different influences including Clement Moore ‘s famous prose… Twas the Night Before Christmas.

But actually, as early as 1863, Nast drew a Santa Claus visiting the Union troops … encouraging soldiers to keep the union together for the children and their families back home.

Nast, as a political cartoonist, created the two symbols for our political parties-donkey -Democratic and elephant -Republican. He also took on corrupt politicians…like William ” Boss Tweed” …exposing him through cartoons to the many illiterate immigrants pouring into the country falling prey to his corruptive policies… they might not be able to speak or read English yet… but everyone could understand a cartoon… no words needed.

It was also Nast who added a toy workshop, residence at the North Pole, naughty or nice children-coals or presents, writing letters to Santa, flying reindeer, scooting down chimneys to deliver gifts, tracking Santa’s route and upon the invention of the telephone… children calling Santa.

So until tomorrow… Creating Santa Claus… the universal symbol of imagination, creativity, and eternal child-like wonder embodied many different talented writers, illustrators, and believers in the sacred reverence and awe of childhood…. in goodness and belief in a world where” Santa exists as certainly as love, generosity, and devotion exist.”

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

A cliffhanger … when I signed off Saturday night and posted Sunday’s Chapel of Hope story. The Clemson-UNC game was just getting ready to start … I was really nervous but now we know the ending and I was so pumped I didn’t fall asleep until early in the morning Sunday! What a game… it felt like the ghosts of Clemson past had returned… fast-paced playing and the whole defensive team ” stone-walled” repeatedly keeping UNC out of the end zone.

But it was the interviews following the game that made me so proud to be a Clemson fan. So many players putting their trust in Someone bigger than themselves to lead them. Amazing grace!

I told Lachlan he forgot his Clemson cap but I put it to good use and it brought us great luck! Love my Tigers!

The light was definitely shining down on the the Clemson Tigers Saturday night and everyone was ” All In!”


PS…. Apparently I have been hacked… so don’t befriend ” Single Dingle” ????? ( Eva Cate found it and let me know! )

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to Creating Santa Claus

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love this…remind me to tell you about ye keeping our 4 little Gamecocks during the Clemson/USC game…


  2. Bonnie James says:

    Though we’ve never met, as I wandered around the campus of Erskine Saturday, I thought of you. We were visiting our granddaughter and toured the campus before the concert that evening. She’s a member of The Choraleers and two other singing groups. Her boyfriend sings with them as well. He also plays the trumpet. We attended a smaller jazz concert he played in at the art building. Sang Christmas carols along with the players. How wonderful. It was such a pleasure and blessing to see these young people working so hard, striving for excellence. It was a rainy, dreary and cold day but the joy we shared with loved ones drove all that away.
    What a beautiful campus. We’re so thankful she chose a smaller school. She’s a chemistry major and loves it there.
    I would imagine it still looks very much the same today as it did when you attended. Wasn’t that just a few years ago?
    Thank you for your faithfulness to this daily little bright spot. I look forward to reading your post each morning with my coffee.
    Merry Christmas and may God bless you with a wonderful New Year.
    Bonnie James

    Get Outlook for Android


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Bonnie… I already feel like I have known you even though we have never met. First… thank you for taking time to share memories of Erskine with me! If I could snap my fingers and be back on that campus I would! Some of my life’s happiest memories were at that beautiful little college nestled off the given path. Far enough away from the busyness of the world around to provide a much needed ” balm in Gilead” for four precious years!

      I envy you the trip and please have a very Merry Christmas ! Thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life … past, present, and future!

      Love 💗 Becky ” Boo”

      Sent from my iPhone


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