He looks a lot like the modern-day Santa Claus: red coat, whiskers, a sled pulled by reindeer. (That pipe, of course, has been excised from today’s ads and cards.)
And by the time this 1868 ad using Santa to help sell sugar plums appeared, it had been five years since Harper’s illustrator Thomas Nast famously reinvented the image of St. Nicholas and changed him from the “jolly old elf” from the Clement Clark Moore poem to the grandfather-like guy in the red suit.
The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910 has lots more about how New Yorkers invented the contemporary Christmas: the first public park tree lighting happened in Madison Square Park, electric lights were invented by a New Yorker, and the grand department stores of Ladies Mile claim the first holiday window displays.
Source: FS – NYC Real Estate
Santa’s dashing appearance in an 1868 candy ad