Authors who Built a Modern Christmas

in Classic Articles on Writing/Historic Articles by Authors

Authors who built a modern Christmas

Dear Santa by Richard de WolfeAuthors over the years have played a big role in creating the modern day Christmas. Some authors published and publicized Christmas, setting up traditions and even imagines like the appearance of Saint Nick. Christmas Today is far from the 3 wise men following the star in the bible, and authors over the years have created this modern day Christmas.

Clement Clarke Moore

A Visit from St. Nicholas a.k.a. T’was the Night Before Christmas is probably the single biggest influence of our image of Santa Claus and the current holiday of Christmas. Moore’s poem written in 1823 encapsulates everything we think of Christmas today. St. Nick coming down the chimney, coming on Christmas Eve, his reindeer and his image are all of from this single poem.

Charles Dickens

Dickens was trying to get Christmas off the ground. He was shooting for the helping and giving side of Christmas, being that is was so pleasant to live in England in 1843. Dickens, as well as the rest of the country, were trying to put together a traditional Christmas.  In a Christmas Carol Dickens set the standard for giving and forgiveness on Christmas.

Washington Irving

In 1809 Irving published a series of stories that parodied the early Dutch living in America. Among those stories, he wrote of Christmas. He wrote of St. Nick coming over a hill in a wagon years before Moore ever dreamed up his poem. Irving portrait is most likely one of the biggest influence on the writers who wrote to build a modern day vision of Christmas. He got the ball rolling.


The 1800s saw the invention of our modern day image of St. Nick, but the 1900s began shaping the way we behave at Christmas. The first story like this, in 1905 was The Gift of the Magi. It has been published in about every middle school anthology published for the last 50 years. The story shows what American “loving” giving is all about. It also carries the notion that we sacrifice for Christmas through consumerism for Christmas.

Hans Christian Andersen

He created the nuisance of Christmas time by writing about a Christmas tree and even creating the holiday ornament the Pleated Christmas heart. His writing had a great impact on the holiday. Living in the moment, would be an example of an idea that has grown out of his work.

Dr. Seuss

Yes, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas published in 1957 has had a major impact on how we see the true Christmas. Seuss of course taught us that too much giving and spending really isn’t what Christmas is about. The underlying caring of Christmas, that thing Black Friday can’t touch, the look on the kids’ faces, is what Seuss set the standard for.

Jean Parker Shepherd

Ever heard of Shep. Many haven’t, but Christmas would be Christmas without the notion that Christmas is about the dreams of kids and what they might never get for Christmas. Shep wrote a book called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and later one of the stories in the book was adapted into the Christmas classic A Christmas Story. Ralphie in the movie of course has influenced all many with his idealized 1950s Christmas. In some ways people in the 2010s are just aspiring to be that innocent again. It’s American lore.

Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal...check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles

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