Christmas lore

early add from Coca Cola with rendition of Santa based partly on early traditions

An early LIFE magazine advertisement from Coca Cola with a rendition of Santa Claus

Christmas lore has continued to evolve with changing attitudes and culture in the western world though retaining bits of the original story line. Legends are based on facts often mixed with a good helping of imagination and wishful thinking and the contemporary version of Santa Clause [aka Saint Nicholas] is no different.  A Visit from St. Nicholas written in 1823, draws from various aspects of legends and myths “a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events”.

Also, 25 December considered the date of Christ’s birth was arguably borrowed from Persian god-man Mithra “friend” though the December mass was chosen out of convenience rather than drawing a relationship between the two. St. Nicholas, the Catholic bishop who was known for his charity, may have died a long time ago but the spirit of giving and goodwill towards all is something to aspire to.  Many generations of parents and elders continue to encourage children to connect with examples and symbols of peace and love.


Singing Christmas carols  is something people continue to enjoy today. Besides caroling as a youth, I sang with a madrigal group performing Christmas songs from various cultures [including Jewish Hanukkah]. Imagining a horse in the snow when singing Jingle bells inspired the collage above…

In the nineteenth century, reindeer flying through the air on a sleigh carrying old St. Nick with gifts was an elaboration based on the Catholic bishop, St. Nicolas who helped out some girls with a dowry to keep them from a life of prostitution. Nicholas “went to the house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.”

Mithra's ride using an early statue to the god-man of a Persian religion who was born on 25 Dec

“Mithra’s Ride” featuring an early statue of the god-man of the Persian religion who was born from a rock [or meteor] and ascended to the heavens to be with his parents Luna and Sol [sun and moon].

Mithra was a Persian god-man and savior. Worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among their civil service and military. Mithraism was a competitor of Christianity until the late 4th century CE when Christianity became the state religion, Mithraism was suppressed, and its priests exiled or executed. Mithra was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by Magi who carried gifts. His birthday was celebrated as the “Dies Natalis Solic Invite,” The “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin. During his life, he performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples. He was believed to have ascended to Heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21. 1 His birth as the “Sun of Righteousness” was celebrated on DEC-25.”

Related posts:









black and white collages

bxws from '96

bxws in 1996

Here’s a few more compositions from past projects [copyright DJ Dills]

break through c.djdills

break through c.djdills


audition c.djdills


denali [high mountain] c.djdills

denali [high mountain] c.djdills

gate c.djdills

gate c.djdills


onthebrink c.djdills

onthebrink c.djdills


The Well c.djdills

The Well c.djdills


post box

post box


cloud room

cloud room [c.djdills]

in flight

in flight [c.djdills]

on the loch

on the loch [c.djdills]


goddess dance [djdills]

traffic jam [djdills]

laid on the line [djdills]

fortune-teller [djdills]

fortune-teller [djdills]

life cycle

life cycle [djdills]


Christmas scenes


author DJ Dills Merry Christmas 2016


Jan. calendar [2000] c.djdills

winter ride dills

winter ride dills

Santa has a cold but has lots of helpers

St. Nic nursing a cold has one of his helpers deliver presents

a detail of “Mithras Ride” the son of the sun and the moon and born on 25th of December 


North Pole cave


Ginger Bread Santa


Sled dogs deliver [ for calendar [2000] c. dj dills

below: “Christmas Street Dance” dills


this is more of a new year's collage - am drawn to elements that remind me of childhood

A new year’s collage featuring Father Time – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! DJ Dills


illustration from 1800s

Father Time illustration from 1890s

Victorian Christmas cards


collage was part of the photo display for the Victorian Christmas in Elgin 2015

Assemblages were part of the photo display in the middle ages church on High Street Elgin during the Victorian Christmas 2015


medieval feast [photos by H Hidenband] DJ Dills

medieval feast [photos by H Hidenband] DJ Dills


Had done several art exhibits but this was my first museum installation [March '16]

Had done several art exhibits but this was my first museum installation [March – October ’16] I was asked to design another exhibit in the future. There are more materials for me to research and will announce any exhibits in the future.

BONICI and the BEATSCENE / Elgin Museum, top of the High Street, Elgin Morayshire, Scotland



cards and poster collage

It was 24 May 92 I took up photo-collage as an art form as an adult though had experimented with it in my teens. After my first art exhibit [Dec/92] I began excepting work creating posters beside personal projects and card-sized images for reproduction.

When I began displaying my photo-collage projects, I was going by "David Starr"

When I began displaying my photo-collage projects, I was going by “David Starr”. Mythic Sky was an instrumental group that asked me to created a CD cover.


Though commonly used from everything from illustrated a classroom project to craftwork, montage and photo-collage became an excepted art form in the 1880’s though the method of cutting and juxtaposing photo-images had been around since the early days of photography. During the American Civil War, photographer Bradley and associates would alter photography by cut and pasting faces in group photos of commanders when an officer would be replaced by another in the 1860s. When photography became affordable in general print [1920s newspapers/magazines], montage and photo-collage became a tool in advertising. The Da-Da and cubist art movement used the medium as did propagandists and advertisers.  Below are a few samples of cards and poster illustrations created whilst doing exhibitions with larger works [10×10 – 10×16″].

Tracers was a poster created for a local theatre group.

Tracers was a poster created for ACE, a popular theatre group in Oregon.




Another illustration for ACE productions [The Secret Garden]

Another illustration for ACE productions [The Secret Garden]




used for a birthday card

used for a birthday card



halloween card

Halloween cards



halloween card II

Halloween card II

halloween card III

halloween card III


featured in HIGH TIMES Magazine, New York, NY which brought some recognition

center feature in HIGH TIMES Magazine, New York, NY


MoonDance was inspired by Van Morrison’s song and was used for cover of unpublished children stories