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The evolution of the look of Santa Claus from a variety of sizes and styles of dress to the standard jolly rotund Santa in a fur trimmed red suit, we know today, began with the illustrations of Thomas Nast. Nast, a political cartoonist, made yearly illustrations of Santa Claus, from 1863 to 1886 for Harper’s Weekly. Although his images varied he did establish the look of a “Merry Old Santa Claus” in a suit rather than a robe.
In 1913, Norman Rockwell’s illustration for the cover of Boy’s Life depicts Santa in his fur trimmed hat and red suit with a large belt. His illustrations, along with those of N.C. Wyeth and J.C. Leyendecker continued to create the standardize version of a life size Santa in red suit.
Starting 1931, Haddon Sundblom, created Santa Claus paintings for advertising posters for the Coca Cola Company. His lavish, endearing and highly detailed paintings along with the world wide advertising by Coca Cola made this image popular across the globe.
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