The Coca Cola Santa – sleigh driving, gift-giving, plump with a white beard and distinctive red suit trimmed with white fur and sipping a Coca-Cola – created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom for their advertising campaigns of the 1930s and 40 may be the Santa most of us recall when we think of Santa Claus.
But Santa’s image was not always of a red suited, jolly man. That image morphed through a variety of different looks.
He was first St. Nicholas, celebrated on December 6th.
In his Dutch form he’s Sinterklaas. That figure made its way across the Atlantic in the early 19th century and the Americanization of Santa Claus began.
The Victorians’ Father Christmas was the emblem of ‘good cheer.’ His appearance was varied. One famous image was an illustration from “A Christmas Carol.”
Thomas Nast’s illustrations immortalized Santa Claus into his current look. This is his “Merry Old Santa Claus” published in the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. Nast is also credited with incorporating the North Pole, Santa’s workshop, and the big book with names of children noting naughty or nice.
Norman Rockwell further the evolution with his many Santa themed covers for the Saturday Evening Post.
For me, my Santa is the red suited man in the Coca Cola ads.
This two minute video explains how he became most people’s Santa.
I still revert back mentally to bygones of wonderful Christmas’ and remembering them fondly. Back in the day was a more simpler and less stressful time. I love to reminisce. Thanks for sharing the story of Santa.
Thanks for stopping by Carolyn. Remembering is what I like best about Christmastime too.
I love them all, but, yes, the Coca cola Santa personifies the jolly old elf