presentation enchants the young and the young at heart. Using numerous illustrations, he explains some of the lore and evolution of Santa, beginning with his birth 1,739 years ago in ancient Lycia. He continues with Santa’s evolution from the early Christian Turkish clergyman Saint Nicholas with lean, angular features in his bishop's robe and miter to the jolly, red-cheeked, grand-fatherly Santa we know today. This version is the familiar red suit with white fur trim was painted by Haddon Sundblom for Coca Cola. Starting in 1931, Sundblom painted annual canvases for Coca Cola for advertisments which appeared in prominent publications such as National Geographic, Look, Life, Saturday Evening Post, and is the basis for the shopping mall Santas of today.
Rawlings has been portraying Civil War Santa for over twenty years at historic sites, Civil War Roundtables and Historical Societies. He is a Civil War living historian, actor, professional researcher, including a film researcher on several program series on the History Channel, among them World War II In HD and the upcoming Vietnam War In HD, and is the author of We Were Marching on Christmas Day: A History and Chronicle of Christmas During the Civil War. Published in 1995 by Toomey Press, he is currently working on a second edition of the book which he hopes to have available for its 20th anniversary in 2015.
Ambrotype image (left) taken by Claude Levet 1989.
The Patriotic Civil War Santa Claus is only one among three Santas that Rawlings currently portrays. The classic traditional Modern Santa and the 1848 Knicker-bocker Santa Claus, based upon the T. C. Boyd illustrations in the Henry M. Onderdunk publication of Clement Clarke Moore's A Visit From St. Nicholas, are also offered.
Kevin Rawlings is available for presentations about Christmas during the Civil War dressed as Civil War Santa. You may also request the Knickerbocker Santa or Modern Santa costume for your presentation.
Cover of the book published in 1995 and nominated for the
prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award the same year.
Cover of Harper's Weekly issued January 3, 1863. This was
Thomas Nast's first published Santa Claus image.
Pass the secret!
Contact Civil War Santa
Kevin Rawlings at
Calender of Santa's Visits
Some of Civil War Santa’s past appearances include:
Annual Holiday Festival of Trains at the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Museum.
Chatham Manor at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus Columbus, GA
Antietam National Battlefield
Surratt House Museum - Clinton, MD
Shippen Manor - Oxford, NJ
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site Alexandria, VA
Museum of the Confederacy - Richmond, VA
Gettysburg Frame Shop on Remembrance Day Weekend Gettysburg, PA
Civil War Santa in the News