I was going to try to find another bearded man to feature, but it’s practically Christmas Eve, and let’s face it, Santa Claus has the most famous beard (and reindeer) of all.
It’s like a giant cloud of fluffy white snow around his chin. It’s his defining characteristic. In the middle of July when there’s an older gentleman on the beach sweating under a large white beard, we just know that’s really Santa on vacation.
We have lots of pictures of the jolly old elf in our holdings. Santa Claus was a popular figure for World War II advertisments to encourage citizens to buy war bonds. No word on whether his snowy-white beard was the deciding factor in buying them, but I bet it made buying them more like a Christmas gift and less like a patriotic duty.
But my favorite image of Santa Claus from our holdings is the one above.
The original captions reads: “Personnel of USS LEXINGTON celebrate Christmas with make-shift decorations and a firefighting, helmeted Santa Claus, 12/1944.”
These young men were away from home over the holidays in 1944, but they still managed to bring the spirit of St. Nick to their ship during wartime. Someone took the time to make paper chains and paper tree, and hang a hand-drawn sign. And what else embodies the Christmas spirit like making your fellow serviceman wear a giant beard made of cottonballs?
It must have worked—they all look like they are having a good laugh. Even “Santa” seems to be resigned to his role at the expense of his dignity.
Merry Beardmas to all, and to all a good night!