In 1823 Clement Clarke Moore wrote A Visit from Saint Nicholas, a poem inspired by the historical figure. Moore’s poem popularised the idea of a gift giving ‘Saint Nick’ with a flying reindeer sleigh.
The man responsible for Santa Claus’ modern look was Thomas Nast, the cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly.
Nast’s regular pictures in the magazine transformed the skinny Father Christmas into a round, bearded figure with a fur coat, boots and belt. He also gained the ‘Naughty or Nice’ list he is known for making. Santa wore all kinds of colours at this time, including blue, brown and red.
From the 1920s, the Coca-Cola Company began their Christmas advertising featuring Santa. In 1931, Haddon Sundblom’s paintings gave him an unforgettably kind face, jolly appearance and a bright red costume. The red outfit, along with his plump appearance, became cemented in the minds of millions all over the world.