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advertising culture

Did Coca-Cola Invent Santa

My daughter, at age 4, is already questioning the legitimacy of the Santa Claus story. I haven’t been much help in keeping her in the dark because I try and follow a strict radical honesty policy with my kids. She wants to believe so badly though, so despite my inclination, I try not to destroy the fa├žade. When she could tell I was doubting, she explained that she’s a believer because she actually met Santa when she was little. I guess, in a way, she has me there.

Where did Santa even come from? It’s widely known he’s based on St. Nicholas, a fourth century Christian bishop of Myra, hence his penchant for red outfits, but the Santa Claus we think of today was shaped largely in part by Coca-Cola and a 19th century poem1.


  1. The poem, of course is, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” ↩︎