Santa depicted in 1920 by Norman Rockwell
The familiar image of Santa Claus wearing his red suit first emerged in the mid 1800s, but was forged in our hearts and imaginations in the 1920s through the illustrations of Norman Rockwell.
In 1881, German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast began drawing Santa delivering gifts and a few years later he added the North Pole and workshop for building toys into his imagery. In 1881 he published a picture entitled 'Merry Old Santa' - round, jolly and wearing his red suit.
'Merry Old Santa' by Thomas Nast 1881
In the 1920s, American author, painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell developed this image further depicting Santa as a human grandfatherly figure.
Saturday Evening Post Cover, 1922 by Norman Rockwell
It was another ten years before Coca-Cola further popularised the image of Santa, in their advertising campaigns of the 1930s.