Christmas is quickly approaching and that means that Santa is almost here! Do you know how this popular Christmas figure and the Santa Beard came to be? In fact, why does Santa have a beard?
Saint Nicholas & The Original Santa Beard
The story of Santa goes back many centuries. Initially, we got the idea of Santa Claus from an early monk named St. Nicholas. Known for his facial hair and charitable nature, the bearded saint legendarily redistributed his wealth to the poor. However, it wasn’t until Coca-Cola‘s marketing team got its hands on him that we got what is now the near universally-accepted image Santa.
Coca-Cola Famous Santa
While the big white beard, red outfit, everything that makes up Santa today was not initially created by the famous soft drink company – Coca-Cola popularized it in 1931. When the company placed him in many magazine ads, they wanted to portray a Christmas figure that was not only realistic but symbolic. Coca-Cola paid illustrator, Haddon Sundblom, to develop advertising images of Santa. The inspiration of his look came to be from an 1822 poem titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” There are many rumors that the reason Santa is dressed in red is the color of the logo of Coca-Cola, but according to Sundblom, the poem interprets Santa appearing in a red coat.
For many years, specifically from 1931 – 1964, Coca-Cola advertised Santa delivering toys, reading Christmas letters, and drinking a coke. After Sundblom’s last Santa Claus creation in 1964, Coca-Cola then adapted their future Santa Claus figures from his creations. It’s because of these ads of Santa Claus that we understand what he is supposed to look like.
As times have changed, Santa has become more and more modern looking, but the one thing that remains constant is his white full-grown beard. His beard has become a significance within the Christmas holiday. Surely, this is not likely to change, especially since beards are becoming more popular every day.