Mr. and Mrs. Claus, © 2005-2007 Susan Comish Gallery
I would first like to say, that in the course of trying to learn about the origins of Mrs. Claus, I have seen WAY TOO MANY "Deluxe ADULT Mrs. Claus" costumes. Is there an entire section of the population with some wierd fetish I don't know about? Is it really that sexy for a young woman to dress up as a naughty version of what is essentially an iconic, sweet-natured grandmother? Ladies, if you want to dress up all hardcore for the holidays, you don't have to spend $34.95 on a short red tutu and tiny white apron. Save some money. Buy a few yards of 3" thick ribbon at the craft store. Tie a bow around your ass. VOILA! A festive bedroom getup your man is perfectly happy with. Seriously. There's no need to go dragging Mrs. Claus into this.
There were differing reports as to the origins of Mrs. Claus. One account was called "I am Mrs. Claus hear me roar" written by Lisa Bondy for The McGill Tribune. Her assessment boiled down to: "The sad truth is she was created by Thomas Nash in the late 1860s, in a series of illustrations for Harper's magazine, and later embellished by Haddon Sundblom in his billboards for Coca-Cola." The Thomas Nash illustrations DO come up often when searching for Mrs. Claus, but another source was mentioned again and again.
"Mrs. Claus, Santa's wife, was first introduced to the world in 1889 in the book Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Ride by the poet Katherine Lee Bates. In this story, Mrs. Claus pleads with Santa to take her along on the annual Christmas Eve sleigh ride to deliver toys to all the good little boys and girls." This account was found at usefultrivia.com and is corroborated by myriad other online sources.
Bates is best known as the author of America the Beautiful and was apparently the first to feel it was important to put in print the idea of Santa having a wife. There was also a song released in 1956 by George Melachrino, "Mrs. Santa Claus," which helped establish Mrs. Claus and her role in the popular imagination. Today, I am pleased to say, we clearly have reached a point where Mrs. Claus is widely accepted. In spite of any fancy magical abilites he may have due to being the anthropomorphic embodiment of a major holiday, no one would begin to suggest the jolly fat man gets all that work done on his own.
The term goody, by the way, is an out of use "polite term of address for a woman of humble social standing." I looked up the poem and had to share it here. In this version of the story, Mrs. Claus is apparently responsible for tending trees that grow the toys and treats instead of them being built by elves. There are also references to turkeys for Thanksgiving and chickens that lay Easter eggs being her responsibility. So she's a very busy lady. All this makes her "acknowledgement" that stuffing stockings "takes brains" and that she's only fit to hold the reindeer pretty barbed and sarcastic. I'm kind of loving how saucy this version of Mrs. Claus is for a woman in 1889 (particularly considering the last line).
Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh-Ride
By Katharine Lee Bates, Published in 1889