1995 32¢ Santa at Chimney
Issue Date: September 30, 1995
City: North Pole, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11.25
Since immigrants coming to America first arrived in New York City, many of our Christmas traditions, including Santa Claus, had their beginnings here. Awaiting opportunities to migrate westward, newly arrived immigrants learned their neighbors’ customs, combined them with their own, and carried them across the country. Before long, the Old World St. Nicholas had been transformed into the American Santa Claus.
One of the most definitive descriptions of this legendary figure was given by Clement Clark Moore in 1822. His famous poem, The Night Before Christmas, written solely to amuse his children, almost singlehandedly changed the stern St. Nicholas into “jolly St. Nick” – a plump, happy-go-lucky elf with a sleigh full of toys and eight flying reindeer.
While Moore gave us the written account, it was Thomas Nast who supplied the visual image. His drawings for Moore’s poems helped secure him a job with Harper’s Weekly, and for 23 years his Christmas drawings gave the country an intimate look at Santa and his workshop. His illustrations for George Walker’s book Santa Claus and His Works also confirmed the idea that Santa wore red. And it was Walker’s story that introduced the idea that Santa lived at the North Pole.