Is it true that Santa traditionally wears red because of Coca‑Cola?
No. It's widely believed that today's Santa wears a red suit because that’s the colour associated with Coca-Cola, but this isn’t the case. Before the Coca-Cola Santa was even created, St Nick had appeared in numerous illustrations and written descriptions wearing a scarlet coat.
However, it is true that Coca-Cola advertising played a big role in shaping the jolly, rotund character we know and love today.
In 1931, Coca-Cola commissioned Swedish-American artist Haddon Sundblom to paint Santa Claus for the company's Christmas adverts. Prior to this, Santa had been portrayed in a variety of ways throughout history: tall and gaunt; short and elfin; distinguished and intellectual; even downright frightening.
Sundblom’s paintings for Coca-Cola established Santa as a warm, happy character with human features such as rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines. This grandfather-style Coca-Cola Santa captivated the public and, as our adverts spread globally, the perception of the North Pole’s most-famous resident changed forever.