Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dawn Of The Modern (Caffeinated) Santa Claus

(click image to enlarge)

Thomas Nast, famous illustrator and cartoonist, is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus. He first drew Santa Claus for the cover of Harper's Weekly in January 1863. He was shown clothed in the Union flag, memorializing the sacrifices made by the north early in the Civil War, and bringing gifts to the troops encamped on the battlefields. Nast is also often credited several Santa Claus traditions, including his workshop, writing letters to Santa, etc.

Essentially, Nast combined the tradition of Saint Nicholas with another German folk tradition, elves, to draw his Santa. Luckily for Coca-Cola, Nast chose red and white for Santa's "color scheme" and they began integrating Santa into their holiday advertising in the 1920s. Up until this point, Coca-Cola was considered a summer drink but Coke's "Thirst Knows No Season" campaign quickly changed that forever.