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LIFE Santa Claus

LIFE Santa Claus
Magazine

He is one of the most iconic figures in human lore, the "right jolly old elf" who embodies the benevolent spirit of Christmas. In fact, Santa Claus (or, St. Nicholas, or Kris Kringle, or Sinterklaas, or Father Christmas, if you will) has had a rich, colorful history, dating back almost two millennia to what is now present-day Turkey. Now, with this special edition and just in time for the excitement of the holidays, you can trace Santa's journey, through all its twists, turns and iterations around the world, as he has enchanted and delighted children of all ages. There is magic in the myth that endures and evolves, generation after generation. Celebrate Santa, a beacon of light and hope in an often dark and uncertain world.

LIFE Santa Claus

The Magic of Santa Claus

Santa Sightings Around the World • Santa, or one or another of his surrogates—his so-called helpers, who might be found in a department store or on a rooftop—has been spotted many times throughout the centuries, and in recent decades this has led to photography (even in our time, a million selfies). To begin, then: a survey of semi-modern and postmodern Santas: visitors urban and rural, Santas on high and deeply under the sea.

Must Be Santa • Here begins our tale of a reclusive and elusive elf often, by necessity, portrayed by others. There is a Santa; surely in our modern age of constant surveillance we are confident of that. And after so many decades—centuries!—of hints and feints, we know the content of the message regarding charity and children. We know the models—Saint Nicholas?—and the modes of operation (those special reindeer). We know a lot . . . if not all. So, as the song says (and there are so many songs!), here comes Santa Claus.

Heralding the Season • The common complaint nowadays is that Santa and Christmas ads seem to start appearing at Labor Day—Halloween at the latest. But the tradition is that Thanksgiving, and especially the parade in New York City sponsored by Macy’s department store, kicks things off. The 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street certainly bolstered this notion, but in fact the Macy’s parade has meant the heralding of the season, and the first arrival of Santa, since 1924.

Schooling Santa • Call them Santa’s Helpers—the considerable legion of surrogates and volunteers who, each December, plunge into the Christmas maelstrom in emulation of their hero, calming the children, collecting for charity—basically, being Santa. Theirs is not a role to be assumed lightly, and it seldom is. It is in fact a role of considerable responsibility. Through the years, LIFE has looked at the training of Santa’s Helpers, and so have others—in America, and throughout the world.

In Touch with the Big Guy • By letter, by phone, at the store—in person!—or today online or by FaceTime, the chance to encounter Santa, to be in touch with him directly and ask him questions, has long been a thrill without equal. It’s all there in these pictures: the eternal nature of this childhood highlight. Delving into our archives, we show the kids of yesteryear. With new photography, behold the kids of today.

The Very Best Santa Movie • The Santa saga, certainly one of the greatest narratives ever rendered, has been told in story and song, in poetry and prose. It has been revisited onstage and in filmic fashion. In our time, the cinematic rendering has risen. One version, now more than 70 years old, has risen above all.

The Waiting Game


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OverDrive Magazine

Languages

English

He is one of the most iconic figures in human lore, the "right jolly old elf" who embodies the benevolent spirit of Christmas. In fact, Santa Claus (or, St. Nicholas, or Kris Kringle, or Sinterklaas, or Father Christmas, if you will) has had a rich, colorful history, dating back almost two millennia to what is now present-day Turkey. Now, with this special edition and just in time for the excitement of the holidays, you can trace Santa's journey, through all its twists, turns and iterations around the world, as he has enchanted and delighted children of all ages. There is magic in the myth that endures and evolves, generation after generation. Celebrate Santa, a beacon of light and hope in an often dark and uncertain world.

LIFE Santa Claus

The Magic of Santa Claus

Santa Sightings Around the World • Santa, or one or another of his surrogates—his so-called helpers, who might be found in a department store or on a rooftop—has been spotted many times throughout the centuries, and in recent decades this has led to photography (even in our time, a million selfies). To begin, then: a survey of semi-modern and postmodern Santas: visitors urban and rural, Santas on high and deeply under the sea.

Must Be Santa • Here begins our tale of a reclusive and elusive elf often, by necessity, portrayed by others. There is a Santa; surely in our modern age of constant surveillance we are confident of that. And after so many decades—centuries!—of hints and feints, we know the content of the message regarding charity and children. We know the models—Saint Nicholas?—and the modes of operation (those special reindeer). We know a lot . . . if not all. So, as the song says (and there are so many songs!), here comes Santa Claus.

Heralding the Season • The common complaint nowadays is that Santa and Christmas ads seem to start appearing at Labor Day—Halloween at the latest. But the tradition is that Thanksgiving, and especially the parade in New York City sponsored by Macy’s department store, kicks things off. The 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street certainly bolstered this notion, but in fact the Macy’s parade has meant the heralding of the season, and the first arrival of Santa, since 1924.

Schooling Santa • Call them Santa’s Helpers—the considerable legion of surrogates and volunteers who, each December, plunge into the Christmas maelstrom in emulation of their hero, calming the children, collecting for charity—basically, being Santa. Theirs is not a role to be assumed lightly, and it seldom is. It is in fact a role of considerable responsibility. Through the years, LIFE has looked at the training of Santa’s Helpers, and so have others—in America, and throughout the world.

In Touch with the Big Guy • By letter, by phone, at the store—in person!—or today online or by FaceTime, the chance to encounter Santa, to be in touch with him directly and ask him questions, has long been a thrill without equal. It’s all there in these pictures: the eternal nature of this childhood highlight. Delving into our archives, we show the kids of yesteryear. With new photography, behold the kids of today.

The Very Best Santa Movie • The Santa saga, certainly one of the greatest narratives ever rendered, has been told in story and song, in poetry and prose. It has been revisited onstage and in filmic fashion. In our time, the cinematic rendering has risen. One version, now more than 70 years old, has risen above all.

The Waiting Game


Expand title description text