American Christmas Man
[W]hoever wrote the poem, "The Night Before Christmas" changed the way Americans celebrate the holiday of Christmas by reinventing the character of Santa Claus, and by combining St. Nicholas Day with Christmas.
The image of Santa went through many variations, until the political cartoonist Thomas H. Nast drew a picture of the fat, jolly man with a white beard that became the standard version. Santa started wearing red and white clothing after an ad campaign for Coca Cola in the 1930s.
In Holland, children are now visited by St. Nicholas on December 5th, and on Christmas Eve they are visited by Santa Claus, whom they call, "American Christmas Man."
--from today's The Writer's Almanac
Labels: Christmas, Coca Cola, Santa Claus, St. Nicholas