|Dressed for the Cold - Bodleian Libraries' Shop|
For example, Thomas Nast, a 19th century cartoonist, did a series of drawings showing Santa living at the North Pole. Nash also gave him a workshop for building toys and a large book filled with the names of children who had been naughty or nice!
And one of my favourite authors, J.R.R. Tolkein (The Hobbit etc) wrote Christmas letters and drawings to his children between 1920 and 1943, including this one of Father Christmas dressed for the cold at the North Pole.
Many countries lay claim to be the home of Santa - well, the Artic Circle does cross many borders after all. In North America, letters to Santa are addressed to The North Pole, although the US uses an actual city in Alaska called The North Pole, and Canada uses the postcode H0H 0H0 - which is brilliant. And of course he has lots of different homes in the Nordic countries too, especially as many people wonder how the reindeer can find lichen to eat at the real North Pole! Maybe it's part of his magic so we don't really know exactly where he lives.
|Santa Envelope - Welsh version - The Old Button|
Of course, you don't have to post your letter - my children always wrote handwritten letters and left them in envelopes on the mantlepiece for his magical helpers to collect. I've developed this tradition into a gorgeous wool envelope design, with the address hand embroidered on the front - we call him Sion Corn in Wales, and Pegwn Y Gogledd is Welsh for The North Pole.
But the elves reliably assure me that if you believe, your letter will get to Santa, whatever address or language you use.
Every Christmas Eve in our house, we track Santa with NORAD - well I say we, but it's mostly me. My husband and teenage kids may watch a bit, but I check every hour and watch all the video clips - Christmas doesn't start for me without a glimpse of the man himself in his sleigh pulled by reindeer - with Rudolph leading the way. But although he does seem to set off from the North Pole, NORAD are very careful not to give away his exact location!
|Norad Tracks Santa|
And what about those fantastic reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen - these are named in the brilliant The Night Before Christmas poem (originally called A Visit from St Nicholas). But what about Rudolph? Where did he come from? Apparently the story of Rudolph can be traced back to a specific author - Robert L. May, a cartoon - who created the idea of a misfit reindeer who saves the day for Santa on a foggy Christmas Eve, for a Christmas coloring book.... Or did he think it up all by himself? Maybe he saw Rudolph's flashing nose one Christmas.... and Santa asked him to tell the story....