A Humorous History of Santa Claus

Great Big Story celebrated Christmas 2023 with a humorous look at the history of Santa Claus, noting specifically how his current suit of red and white came to be.

You’ve probably heard it was in Coca-Cola’s ad campaigns, – but they didn’t! It wasn’t them. He started featuring in ads as early as the 19th century, like the US confection company’s sugar plums, and the cover of humor magazine, Puck.

They also looked at the international origins of Santa, how he merged with Father Christmas, how Santa Claus wound up in malls, and how a school for Santa impersonators was founded.

This tradition can be credited to the entrepreneurial genius of James Edgar, when in 1890 he got the idea to dress up as Santa in his department store in Massachusetts. This practice became so popular that in 1937 Charles W. Howard, a passionate Santa impersonator, established the Charles W. Howard Santa School – the oldest, continuously run such school in the world.

Most of all, this was an opportunity to wish their viewers well.

So now you know a bit more about the large man who comes down your chimney to give you presents, eat your cookies and drink your milk. And from all of us here at Great Big Story, have a Merry Christmas and a happy holidays to one and all.

History of Santa

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.