Over the decades, The Saturday Evening Post has featured dozens of classic images of Santa Claus on their December covers. Here are a few of our favorites.
Giving Santa His Seat
December 10, 1955
Sargent had nearly 40 Post covers under his belt before he painted this heartwarming Christmas cover of a little boy (Sargent’s neighbor Richie McCullough) who is eager to take advantage of an opportunity to do a good deed — especially with Christmas only a few days away.
Christmas, 1927 (King Kong Santa)
December 3, 1927
Editor George Horace Lorimer had a rule that cover paintings should convey the illustrator’s intended message in no more than three seconds. Certainly that’s true in this timeless painting conveying the message, as Rockwell once said, that “…children want to believe in Santa Claus just a fervently as we adults want to believe in peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.”
Santa Up a Ladder
December 20, 1930
Not everyone in this household welcomes Santa’s Christmas Eve visit. Can this befuddled Santa coax Fido into returning his coattail? Insiders understood this scene as a veiled reference to Leyendecker’s disciple Rockwell, whom art critics frequently described as riding his mentor’s coattails.
December 7, 1918
This Santa-as-soldier was painted by J.C. Leyendecker for the December 2018 cover. By the time this issue was published, the armistice had signed, bringing the Great War to an end. Santa and the rest of the troops could look forward to Christmas at home.
Hug From Santa
December 26, 1925
No matter how heavy the pack or how pressed for time, good St. Nick will always pause for a hug. And what a heavy load it is! You can almost feel the enormous strain weighing down on Santa’s collapsing boots.
December 22, 1923
Artist J.C. Leyendecker painted more covers for The Saturday Evening Post than any other artist. While he may have been better known for his cherubic New Year’s babies and his strapping sportsmen, he was no slouch when it came to illustrating classic portrayals of Santa Claus.
Santa with Elves
December 2, 1922
In January of 1922, Saturday Evening Post editor George Horace Lorimer, feeling the weight of the season, commissioned Norman Rockwell to paint a worn-out Santa for the coming December cover. The elves were Rockwell’s first attempt at cartoonish figures for a Post cover. If you look closely, you’ll see they are miniatures of his Santa model, John Malone. It was no trick to capture Malone in this pose, as he frequently dozed off in Rockwell’s studio.