Santa Claus

In 1860, the illustrator and caricaturist Thomas Nast, who was working for the New York newspaper Harper's Illustrated Weekly, dressed Santa Claus in a red costume trimmed with white fur and held up with a wide leather belt. For close to 30 years, hundreds of Nast sketches depicted every aspect of the legend of Santa Claus who was known to Francophones as "Père Noël" (Father Christmas).

Nast established Santa’s official residence at the North Pole in 1885 when he sketched two children looking at a map of the world and tracing Santa’s journey from the North Pole to the United States. The following year, the American writer, George P. Webster, took up this idea, explaining that Santa’s toy factory and "his house, during the long summer months, was hidden in the ice and snow of the North Pole".

In 1931, Santa Claus took on a totally new look in an advertising illustration circulated by the Coca-Cola company. Through the artistic talent of Haddon Sundblom, he would henceforward have human stature (thus making him more convincing and much more accessible), a plump belly, a sympathetic face, a jovial air and a debonair bearing.

For close to 35 years, Coca-Cola used this portrait of Santa Claus in print media then on television throughout the world.