LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID

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From Mr Maurice O'C. Walshe

Sir: I had a good laugh at Richard Halliday's letter (15 December). The figure of Father Christmas as we know him goes back a lot further than 1931, or even 1921. I was born in 1911, and so had my first encounter with "Sandy Claws" (as I at first understood his name to be) just before World War I. Even in those dark days he was always there at Christmas in a red jacket. Just once, when I was about five or six, he appeared on some Christmassy object in dark blue. I was most indignant: it wasn't right!

Coca-Cola merely exploited a well-known stereotype. The Swedish artist was no doubt chosen for his self-portrait because he looked like that figure.

Yours reminiscently,

Maurice O'C. Walshe

Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

15 December