November 30, 2010

Kris Krampus?

Along with a sleigh full of 19th century Santas, Kurt Reed on Saturday presented a figure of “Krampus”, the alter ego of Santa Claus unleashed on children who were naughty rather than nice. The old European tradition modeled this devilish creature holding a switch, was sometimes known as anti-St, Nicholas. Reed, a local historian from Lake Ariel, shared his collection of old Santa figures and early Christmas decorations at an open house held by the Dorflinger Suydam Sanctuary in White Mills. He spoke at the restored 1867 Worker’s Cottage.  Did you know that early Santa stories had him actually small enough to fit down the chimney, and his coat was not necessarily red?  Some versions had him with blue pants. He didn’t have reindeer until 1821.  Much of our current tradition originated with American editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902), who drew for Harper’s Weekly. Thanks to Nast, Santa established his base at the North Pole.  Kathryn Lee Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful,” introduced Santa to his wife in 1889, in a children’s poem Bates penned. Mrs. Claus’s name? Jessica!

No comments: