Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa Got a New Hat

In the Unites States when a person portrays Santa Claus, jolly old Saint Nick wears a nightcap and a red suit. Depicting Santa in this particular style of dress dates back to the late 19th Century. It has been attributed to Thomas Nast. Nast worked for Harper’s Weekly magazine as an artist in the 1880s. He was the first to envision Santa wearing a red suit trimmed in white fur, a nightcap, and a wide black belt.

Prior to Nast, artists’ illustrations of Santa showed him in a tan colored suit. This change in Santa’s wardrobe was often attributed to Haddon Sundblom, who painted images of Mr. Claus for Coca Cola ad campaigns. However, the Coca Cola Company did in fact give credit to Nast, acknowledging that the now classic red suit appeared on covers of Harper’s Weekly forty years earlier. Prior to Coca Cola’s advertising, Santa was still rendered in a variety of styles. It was Sundblom that defined a standard, which was consistent with Nast’s work.

Today there are regional differences. In the United States, Santa wears the fur trimmed suit and nightcap with black boots. While in some European countries where the holiday gift giver is known as Saint Nicholas, his outfit is similar to that of a saint—a long robe and a Bishop’s mitre.

This holiday season, I’m offering a new knitted cap that could be a fun addition to Santa’s wardrobe. Perhaps Santas everywhere will love it more than the good ole stocking cap, and surely find it much more versatile.