Thomas Nast, the original illustrator of A Visit From St. Nicholas, was the person responsible for the way we see Santa today. When Nast was a boy he stayed up every Christmas Eve trying to catch Santa in the act. He never saw Santa, always falling asleep before he arrived. After waiting for Santa for many Christmases he decided to leave Santa a note asking him for a photo of how he looked. Nast never received a picture of Santa but he did dream about what he looked like. When Nast grew up he drew pictures of the Santa we know today and shaped our image of the modern day Santa forever.
A postcard from my vintage collection postmarked 1910.
For fun with your little ones NORAD tracks Santa's route continuously on Christmas Eve.