Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Four: Coca Cola

(Continued from yesterday.)

No discussion of Santa Claus would be complete without some mention of Coca Cola. I’ve heard more than once that Coca Cola invented the contemporary image of Santa Claus as part of a holiday-themed ad campaign. Snopes.com, however, notes that while Coca Cola did start using Santa Claus in their ads in the 1930s, images of what we now think of as the “traditional” jolly old elf were appearing on magazine covers and in advertisements throughout the first few decades of the twentieth century.

Yet while Coca Cola may not have “invented” Santa Claus, I wouldn’t be surprised if they helped to proliferate his image. What’s more, with the kind of corporate backing that a company like Coca Cola could provide, it isn’t surprising that the concept of Santa Claus eventually helped to turn Christmas into the commercial bonanza that it is today.

To sum up, though I’ve probably left a lot of the “ingredients” that have fed into our contemporary conception of Santa Claus out of this discussion, a few of the major ones are illustrated below. Saint Nicholas gave us his name. Krampus gave us the chimney. Odin gave us a fondness for winking and an odd predilection for associating footwear with the holidays, Martin Luther reminded us to keep the Christ in Christmas and thereby unwittingly gave us Chris Kringle, and Coca Cola helped turn Santa Claus into an agent of commercialism.

Personally, I’m rooting for Krampus to make a comeback.

3 thoughts on “Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Four: Coca Cola

  1. it seems rather disturbingh that we believe in such a lie.This though does not suprize me at all.It only shows me that the ancients were whackoes.

  2. Basically Santa Claus came from the Greek pan,the Roman Saint Nickolas,the Roman Mithra and the Norse Odin.I find it all hilarious and ridiculous at the same time.We should
    abandon Christmas and Santa Claus because both are from ridiculous origins and not Jesus at all.Society’s most crafted deception and disguised as two men Jesus and Santa Claus and Santa Claus translates as Sinterklaus,yet the costume is a evolution of Odin’s Wizard Costume and the Coca-Cola designs.Kenny Loggins song “Lady Luck” could be aimed at this lie to a t.He could confront them for this.

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