Did Coca-Cola invent Santa’s Suit Red?

09
Dec
2018

No! Coke did not invent the image of the modern Santa as we see him.

Coca-Cola was not the first to portray Santa Claus as a jolly large chap in a red and white suit. That honour goes to Thomas Nast, a German born, American cartoonist.

1863

Thomas Nast

The first appearance of a modern Santa Claus, complete with what we consider to be the Santa suit was in drawings by Thomas Nast. Nast’s original drawings were of a small Santa who could slide down chimneys, but his later works made him full size.

He was also the first to draw Santa wearing a red suit with fur lining, a nightcap, and a black belt with a large buckle.

1931

Coca-Cola Company

Haddon Sundblom drew images of Santa in advertising for the Coca-Cola Company since 1931.

Even though Sundblom’s work certainly changed the perception of Santa Claus, the red suit was actually shown on the covers of Harper’s Weekly by Thomas Nast at least 40 years before his work for the Coca-Cola company was published.

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