Civil War Christmas, 1863

Nast Dec. 26 1863

Christmas by Thomas Nast, 1863

The warm, cozy images we associate with Christmas likely began in December 1863, when Harper’s Weekly published three elaborate drawings by cartoonist Thomas Nast. The two-page spread, a sort of Christmas triptych, included now-familiar, sentimental images – a bearded Santa Claus with a huge sack of gifts, a soldier on leave being welcomed home with a small Christmas tree in the background, and children playing with toys on Christmas morning.

This cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly on December 26, 1863, was perhaps the earliest depiction of now-classic Christmas images. But Christmas 1863 was quite different for many Americans than Nast’s feel-good images portrayed. Family members were missing from firesides and Christmas celebrations across the divided nation as the start of a third year of bloody civil war approached.

Via: Drye Goods

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