We owe much about what we know about the Father Christmas today to the Americans of the 19th Century. In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore described what he imagined Father Christmas to look like in a poem.
The poem is often referred to as 'The Night Before Christmas', but originally it was titled 'A Visit from St Nicholas'.He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his sack.
His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump,--a right jolly old elf--
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
Written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 as a Christmas present to his children.
In 1866, Thomas Nast, a cartoon artist for the Harper's Illustrated Weekly, made a montage entitled, Santa Claus His Works, and for the first time established 'Santa' as a maker of toys.