He’s the jolly man who brings holiday cheer to all who are near. You can hear his “Ho, Ho, Ho!” laugh for miles away, and his white beard, rosy cheeks and deep-red suit are symbols of the season. Who could it be? Santa, of course! This holiday, we got to thinking about that deep-red suit … why does Santa wear only red? Why not green, blue or white? We answer the question with help from Coca-Cola and BBC News.
Before we began writing this blog, we thought the best way to get the answer to our question would be to ask Santa himself while he was visiting the museum. He responded, with a twinkle in his eye, “Because it’s my favorite color!” Now, since Santa is a very busy man this time of year, we decided not to ask any more questions (we’d like to remain on the Nice List, after all), but we did do a little more research. And this is what we found …
Many believe Santa wears red because of Coca-Cola. While there is no question that the soft-drink company has been influential in depicting the jolly man we all have come to know and love, the truth is St. Nick’s red suit appeared in illustrations and written descriptions long before Coca-Cola’s 1931 advertisements were created.
In fact, Haddon Sundblom, the artist who created the original magazine ads for Coca-Cola, was actually inspired by Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” – more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas.”
But before Moore’s poem and Coca-Cola’s advertisements, there was the original St. Nicholas. As the Bishop of Myra in the 4th Century, his traditional robes were red and white. While some historians argue that he originally dressed in different colors, the fact is that after the bishop, who was known for his generosity and kindness to children, passed away, his legend grew, and that included his scarlet apparel.