The History of the Santa Suit
- By Jenna Maxwell
The Santa suit may be a familiar aspect of the American holiday season, but do you know how the costume came to be? While Santa has been an integral part of Christmas for centuries, the modern version of Santa came to prominence in the 19th century. Santa Claus' predecessors include the pagan god Odin, the Catholic Saint Nicholas of Myra, the European version of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, the Dutch figure Kris Kringle, and the English character, Father Christmas. Many of these characters traditionally wore a red coat or costume, which would later become the inspiration for the first widely-viewed image of Santa Claus. However, earlier versions of Santa Claus differ greatly in appearance from today's description of the jolly old elf.
In 1822, author Clement Clark Moore published the poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." The poem depicted a different looking Santa Claus than what was previously known, as some earlier versions show Santa Claus as a skinny elf with long beard. Other pre-Victorian depictions show Santa Claus figures dressed in robes of various colors or in different colored suits. Artist Thomas Nast illustrated Moore's book, and created the images of Santa Claus that would lay the foundation for his red costume. He also illustrated the book Santa Claus and His Works.
Nast went on to draw Christmas Scenes for the publication Harper's Weekly. He continued to draw images of Santa from 1862 until 1866. These images are the first illustrations of Santa Claus that resemble our modern conception, as they include much of the background and scenery associated with Christmas. Nast's illustrations often featured reindeer, the North Pole, Santa Claus' workshop, and toys for children who had been good throughout the year. Harper's Weekly published Nast's illustration A Christmas Furlough that depicted Santa Claus speaking to a crowd of people. While the image is a close resemblance to today's Santa Claus, he still did not have his traditional red suit.
While Santa Claus became an established figure and showed up in different advertisements, he sometimes appeared thin, had a scraggly beard and, while he may have worn a red coat, sometimes wore a different colored hat. By 1881, Nast created an image called Merry Old Santa that showed Santa Claus in a red suit and with a fuller stomach, thicker beard, and rosy-red cheeks. Still, the image of Santa had yet to become standard. Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum wrote and illustrated the book, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, who wore a green coat with red boots. The book was published in the early 1900s.
While different companies did feature Santa Claus in a red suit trimmed in white throughout the early 1900s, it was not until 1931 that the full image became widely recognized. In 1931, the soda company Coca-Cola hired illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create a Christmas advertising campaign, after a successful ad created by artist Fred Mizen ran the year before. The Sundblom advertisements featured Santa Claus in full red suit, while drinking Coca-Cola. While many mistakenly credit Coca-Cola for creating the modern day image of Santa, the company is responsible for presenting the image that became the modern standard. Coca-Cola has continued to use Santa Claus in their advertising campaigns.
|ONLINE WEBSITE ORDER SUPPORT & INFORMATION||RETAIL STORE LINKS AND CONTACT INFORMATION||ONLINE RESOURCES|
Customer Care Help Desk
Contact Us (Website Operations)
FAQs for Ordering Online
Our Costume Blog
Refund and Return Policy
Retail Store Locator
Contact Us (Retail Store Operations)
Buy Online Pickup In Store
Retail Store Business Offices
Halloween Countdown Banners
How to Videos
Halloween Express Scholarship
DIY Costume Contest
|HalloweenExpress.com is not responsible for printing or typographical errors. Prices, policies and availability subject to change without notice.
Copyright © 1999-2018 Halloween Express. All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form. An ASADART E-Commerce Specialty Shop.