Re: Coke and Santa Meme

Wade T.Smith (
Mon, 22 Dec 97 07:38:28 -0500

Subject: Re: Coke and Santa Meme
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 97 07:38:28 -0500
From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
To: <>

I forward this from another list I am on- yes, it is an UL, not even a
good one, since it falls so swiftly before only cursory research. Santa
Claus is derived in great part as well from Sinterklaaus (sp?), who
brings gifts on Dec. 6 and has helpers as well.

>> "Prior to Sundblom's paintings, there was no clear image of Santa Claus
>> that dominated the public mind. St. Nick was variously depicted --
>> sometimes tall and sometimes elfin, sometimes decked in the robes of a
>> bishop and sometimes wearing the animal skin tunic of a norse huntsman. But
>> after Sundblom began creating Coca-Cola's holiday advertisements in 1931,
>> his Santa became part of North American culture and tradition."
>> [Dr. Howard Collinson, the consulting curator on a 1991 exhibition (Santa
>> -- The Real Thing at the Royal Ontario Museum) featuring 26 original oil
>> paintings by the late artist Haddon Sundblom, quoted from the museum's
>> "Atria" (Vol. 10, No. 1; Nov./Dec. 1991).]

snopes notes:

>"A standardized Santa Claus appears to New York children. Height, weight,
>stature are almost exactly standardized, as are the red garments, the hood
>and the white whiskers. The pack full of toys, ruddy cheeks and nose,
>bushy eyebrows and a jolly, paunchy effect are also inevitable parts of
>the requisite make-up."
>The New York Times -- 27 November 1927. (Four years before Sundblom's
>first Santa advertisement for Coca-Cola.)

Thank you for this. I had begun of late to put some weight into

Clement Moore's 1822 poem (first published in 1823 under the title
of a Visit from St. Nicholas") probably rates as the second major
on the evolving American Santa (Washington Irving's 1809 "History of New
York" being the first) and Thomas Nast's 1869 full-colour illustrations
an edition of Moore's poem ranking third. Moore must have seen Irving's
account of a dream about St. Nick (Book 1, Chapter 5, of his history)
it describes smoke circling Santa's head as well as the gesture of putting
a finger alongside his nose.

"Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives the frosty night
O'er chimney tops, and track of snow
To bring his yearly gifts to you."

[Arthur J. Stansbury in his 1821 (!) "The Children's Friend: Number III. A New-Year's Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve".]

***************** Wade T. Smith | "There ain't nothin' you | shouldn't do to a god." | ******* *******

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