Did Coca Cola Create Santa Claus?


Santa Claus is a beloved icon to children of all ages, what with his red and white suit donned with fur, his chubby features and a laugh that is both warm and welcoming. Each year, millions of children gather around and leave a plate of cookies accompanied with a glass of milk and a reading of “The night before Christmas.” What most people don’t know is that Santa didn’t always appear the friendly and easily recognizable character that we all love and know of today. In fact, Santa used to appear very different and perhaps with the help of Coca Cola, we were left with the chubby little man that has warmed the heart of so many today.

Did Coca Cola Create Santa Claus?

The year is 1931 and Santa is an unrecognisable face in comparison to what we’re used to. Often times he either looked like a rather scary elf, or in some cases more of a man of Nord origins. In fact, when Santa first began to appear in the 1800’s he was a fairly small elf who wore a brown cape which was eventually changed later to the red color we now see. Santa didn’t really become a known public face until it began showing in ads with Coca Cola company characters and scenes back in 1920’s to the 1930’s.

Around 1931 the popular soda company decided that they wanted to go with something more realistic and friendly over the stern and harsh figure that had previously been drawn. Thus Haddon Sundblom was then commissioned  to drawing this new style of Santa. However, instead of drawing a random figure, it was Mr. Sundblom himself that he drew in the clothes that we recognize as the clothing we usually see on Santa. For inspiration, Sundblom used the famous description of what Santa was said to have looked like from classic story “Twas the night before Christmas.”

It was then that this new image of Santa began to appear in the newspapers and magazines. From the early beginnings for 1931 up until 1964, his pictures would depict this jolly looking fellow showing up at homes and delivering toys to children who were good all while enjoying a refreshing Coca Cola. These pictures sprung up everywhere there was a Coca Cola advertisements on billboards, magazines, and more. This continued for many years and finally in 2001 Santa was brought to life from paintings, pictures and billboards to being a cartoon animation.

In retrospect, had it not been for a friend and salesman of the artist who drew Santa and his work with the Coca Cola company it’s unlikely we’d have the jolly man that we know and love today. For some, it’s easy to say that if it weren’t for the Coca Cola company, we wouldn’t possibly have Santa, some of the traditions that have come with this jolly figure or even the traditions. Thanks to Coca Cola company and its advertisements, we have a lovable figure to share with generations to come.