Writing about Christmas traditions in your historical novel? Check out the info graphic at the Balsam Hill website . The timeline includes historical holiday information about culture, decorations, traditions and figures, from early origins to the early twenty first century. From this info graphic, I learned that my Civil War characters would have depicted Santa as the typical Nast character we know of today, all jolly and fat, er overweight. My characters would not have known about Rudolph, however, because he was not created until 1939.