Dutch and German immigrants brought St. Nicholas to America in the early 19th century, and he began a process of assimilation, trading in his bishop’s miter and crosier for a fur-trimmed red suit and cap.
Santa Facts : Born around the year 270, St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, a town in what is now Turkey. He earned a reputation as an anonymous gift giver, by paying the dowries of impoverished girls and handing out treats and coins to children. A Dutch tradition kept St. Nicholas’ story alive in the form of Sinterklaas, a bishop who traveled from house to house to deliver treats to children on the night of Dec. 5.
Coca–Cola created the modern Mr. Claus
When St. Nicholas first began showing up in illustrations, he wore many different colored robes: Green, purple, blue, and brown, among others.Beginning in the late 1800s, it became popular to outfit Santa in a red suit. Artist Louis Prang depicted him that way in a series of Christmas cards in 1885.
But the modern image of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit was seared into American pop culture in 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom illustrated him that way for a widely-circulated campaign for Coca–Cola. Sunblom created a happy Santa, but this had not always been the way he was interpreted. He could sometimes be seen as overworked.
Coke’s concept for the advertising campaign centered around a Santa who, when armed with a bottle of Coke , was now able to make his rounds delivering toys to all the good little girls and boys with his jolly disposition in tack.“Parents this year will be less hard put to it to explain why one Santa Claus is different from another.” So perhaps the modern version of Santa, however he came about, is something parents everywhere can be thankful for this Christmas.