Did Coca‑Cola create Santa Claus?

Coca‑Cola did not create the legend of Santa Claus. But Coca‑Cola advertising did play a big role in shaping the jolly character we know today.

Before 1931, there were many different depictions of Santa Claus around the world, including a tall gaunt man and an elf —there was even a scary Claus.

But in 1931, Coca‑Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to paint Santa for Christmas advertisements. Those paintings established Santa as a warm, happy character with human features, including rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines.