The first Coca-Cola Santa created by artist Haddon Sundblom in 1931. Uploaded by thecoca-colacompany.com.
Throughout history, around the world, people have had vastly different images of “Sintirklass,” “St. Nicholas,” and “Father Christmas”. In America, we’ve been influenced by the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”: “He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf…”
Haddon Sundblom self-portrait. Uploaded by thecoca-colacompany.com.
That’s pretty much the way it was before an artist named Haddon Sundblom and the Coca-Cola Company. The Coke folk wanted people to know that their drink was just as good in the winter as in the heat of summer. What better spokesman for such a message than Santa?
Sundblom did indeed take inspiration from Clement Moore’s poem. Starting in 1931, and annually for the next 33 years, Sundblom created the image of Santa that prevails today.
Here are some of the famous Coca-Cola Santas:
Uploaded by thecoca-colacompany.com.
Posted in Americana
uploaded by images.businessweek.com
Yes, I realize that a significant percentage of you prefer Pepsi, which is itself a Great American Thing. Shoot, probably two percent of you are holding out for RC Cola, and six aerobics instructors and a valet parking attendant in Santa Monica are clamoring for Tab. But the drink that holds the unmistakable claim for iconic status as the essential American soft drink is Coke.
Chances are you know some of the mythology surrounding Coca-Cola. Snopes.com, the urban legends folks, has a whole page devoted to rumors. Such as: “Coca-Cola originally contained cocaine.” Verdict: TRUE. And “Only two people in the world know Coke’s formula, and each knows only half of it.” Verdict: FALSE.
Here’s my favorite on the page, “Little Mikey of LIFE Cereal fame died from the explosive effects of mixing Pop Rocks candy and Coca-Cola.” Verdict: FALSE. (Darn, this would have been so cool if true.)
uploaded by Coca-Cola Art Gallery
Now you can get a Coke almost anywhere in the world, from Atlanta to Djibouti, always in that trademarked contour shape. It’s used in recipes (a delicious cake, for example) and makes a delicious float. All right, I’m sure there are other things it’s used in besides desserts, but it seems my sweet tooth is particularly active today.
Oh, speaking of teeth. There’s another rumor on Snopes.com that says “A tooth left in a glass of Coca-Cola will dissolve overnight.” Curses, also FALSE. Why are the really good stories never true?