Christmas is less than two weeks away. While most of us are winding down our Christmas shopping to get ready for the holiday, there's one person who's just gearing up for the big day--Santa Claus.
The sheer mention of his name gives everyone a good feeling that radiates throughout towns and cities around the world. It also conjures up images of the jolly old man in a red coat and pants with a long, white beard.
But it wasn't always that way.
Some early depctions of Santa show a tall and skinny man, or even a scary looking elf. It wasn't until the early 1930's that the the Santa we all have come to know and love was created.
Haddon Sundblom's Perfect Santa Claus
It all began with Coca-Cola's 1931 holiday advertising campaign called "Thirst Knows No Season." The advertising executive working with the company wanted to depict a realistic and symbolic Santa, one that was wholesome and charming.
Enter Michigan-born artist Haddon Sundblom.
Sundblom was commissioned by Coca-Cola to create the ideal Santa. And did he ever.
The Santa Claus he created with oil paints were a huge hit and featured in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Ladies Home Journal, and others. It had such an enormous impact that Coca-Cola commissioned Sundblom to paint Santa Claus for their ads up through 1964.
Sundblom's inspiration came from Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas," where Santa is described as a plump old man whose "cheeks were like roses, and his nose like a cherry."
Using his neighbor (and himself) as a model from which to paint, Sundblom created the iconic images of Santa that generations would come to know and love.