Santa and Macy's

Santa Claus in Macy's
Do you know what is the birthplace of Santa? Do you know where is his workshop? And where is his home away from home? If you do not have the answers I can help. It is the holiday season in New York, Christmas is in two days   - so it is high time to talk about Santa.

The Dutch brought St. Nicholas to New Amsterdam. John Pintard, the influential patriot and antiquarian who founded the New York Historical Society in 1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city. In January 1809, Washington Irving joined New York Historical Society and on St. Nicholas Day that same year, he published the satirical fiction, Knickerbocker's History of New York, with numerous references to a jolly St. Nicholas character.

In 1822 Clement Moore, the Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature at the General Theological Seminary (GTS) in New York wrote a poem for his six children “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. Founded in 1817, GTS is the oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church and a leading center of theological education in the Anglican Communion. Clement Moore donated 66 tracts of land – which was his apple orchard – to become the site of the new seminary. Moore's estate, Chelsea, was on the west side of Manhattan island above Houston Street. It gave the name to this part of New York.

Moore was born in 1779. He graduated from Columbia , played the organ and was proficient in French, Latin, Italian, Hebrew, and Greek. At the age of thirty, he compiled a Hebrew lexicon, the first work of its kind in America.

General Theological Seminary
Bit only the little poem Moore wrote in 1822 to entertain his children on Christmas Eve made him famous. It was popular from the start. At least four newspapers reprinted the poem within three weeks of its first appearance.

Wikipedia wrote:" The poem, which has been called "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American", is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. It became a popular poem which was set to music and was recorded by many artists."

Four hand-written copies of the poem are known to exist, and three are in museums, including the New-York Historical Society library.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there In this poem, St. Nicholas is portrayed as a jolly and cheerful old fellow.  

"A Visit from St. Nicholas" not only created the current Christmas tradition, but the current image of Santa Claus as well. With his "bowl full of jelly" stomach and rosy cheeks, Santa Claus was born and he was born here, in New York! The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast at the end of nineteenth century. Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of the good and bad children of the world.

In 1925, since reindeer would not be possible at the North Pole, newspapers revealed that Santa Claus in fact lived in Finnish Lapland. Now the part of Lapland belongs to Russia. Many-many years ago I spend ten days in Lapland Natural Reserve in the middle of February. It was the first and the last time when I was saw northern lights.

A human-sized version of Santa Claus was depicted in a series of illustrations for Coca-Cola advertisements introduced in 1931. In modern versions of the Santa Claus legend, his toy-shop workers are elves. Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, with a red and shiny nose, was invented in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward Company in Chicago.

You can find a huge red mailbox on one of the floors of the Macy's on 34th street. As part of its seventh annual "Believe" campaign, Macy's is inviting kids of all ages across the country to believe by dropping off a letter for Santa in the red Santa Mail letterbox at their local Macy's. 
 It is a charity program. Macy's launched its first Believe campaign in 2008, based on "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus". 

In 1897 the eight-year-old Virginia, the daughter coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, wrote a letter to "The Sun", a prominent New York City newspaper, with the question : Is There a Santa Claus?.
Dear Editor— I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon 115 West Ninety Fifth Street
The New York Sun   published the editorial: "... He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood".


For each letter collected in stores and online through Christmas Eve, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to help grant wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions.

Macy’s in New York City was the first department store to have specially constructed holiday presentations. The customers of 1874 could see holiday window displays with a collection of porcelain dolls from around the world and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Website Mommy Poppins wrote about the windows in 2014 : The brand-new Sixth Avenue windows, Santa's Journey to the Stars, depict the retro sci-fi holiday story of young Alex and his dog, Bella, traveling the solar system with old St. Nick. The trio experiences Christmas on other planets before returning to Earth just in time for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 Each of the six windows offers a unique seasonal scene, like the amazing toy workshop run by Santa's elves on Venus, the festively decorated red planet Mars, and the galaxy's biggest snowball fight between Uranus and Neptune. These magical windows overflow with intricate details and thousands of LED lights.

So this is the story. The only one question is unanswered. Where you can find Santa now? I can tell you the answer! You can find Santa in Santaland, on the eighth floor of Macys department store in New York. 

 Santaland,  13,000-square-foot Christmas Village overflowing with holiday treasures is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m until Christmas Eve. Macy’s in New York City was the first to feature an in-store Santa for children to visit. I'm not a kid anymore. But I visited Santaland last week and was so happy that I did it. And I can proof it with the set of pictures that I did a week ago. I also made a short movie with holiday windows.  Enjoy!