I've been readingThe Battle for Christmas. Here is an interesting excerpt about Christmas theatre in Philadelphia in 1843
"The matinee performance at the National Theatre opened with a drama, George Barnwell,continued with a blackface show The Original Virginia Minstrels, and ended with another drama, King of the Mist. The Ach Street Theatre matinee opened with Hunter of the Alps, continued with a Comic Song, and concluded with the Colored Music Festival, by the Virginia Minstrels. The evening show in that same theatre opened with a drama, followed once again by the Virginia Minstrels, and concluded with a new Pantomime, entitled 'Santa Claus' - Old Kriskringle [played by] Mr. Winans.
Old Krisskringle - By 1843 this figure had become the lead character of a Christmas pantomime performed in concert with a minstrel show. (This would not be the only occasion on which Santa Claus converged with blackface minstrelsy. In about 1840, a collection of minstrel songs was printed in New York under the authorship by Santaclaus."