Today we begin a complete reprinting of NEA’s 1940 Christmas strip, Santa’s Secrets by Howard Boughner. NEA has been producing an annual Christmas strip since 1936, offering it to subscribing papers as a holiday bonus.
The NEA Christmas strips typically run about four weeks. Some feature regular NEA characters, others adapt classic Christmas stories, and others (like Santa’s Secrets) feature original stories and ‘one-off’ characters.
Although NEA continues to produced the Christmas strips to the present day (the 2007 strip is titled Roamin’ Holiday – A Humble Stumble Christmas) few newspapers run them anymore. Lots of papers printed the freebies back in the 30s and 40s, but things tailed off after that. Finding a paper that runs the NEA Christmas strip these days is a rarity indeed. What a shame that such a nice holiday tradition has all but ended. I guess in one-paper towns these days editors see no reason to go to the bother of opening up a little space for three weeks of holiday cheer. A big “Bah, humbug!” Christmas message to their readers. Nice.