We often think that the image of Santa Claus as we know him came from Thomas Nast’s illustrations or the description in Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Some people will tell you that Santa achieved his modern form thanks to the Coca Cola ads of the 1930s. Those theories are all partially right, but the vision we have of Santa started long before that. A book illustration had Father Christmas wearing a coat and hat trimmed with white fur as far back as 1686! Of course, he’s gone through many incarnations on the way to his modern look. Public Domain Review has a slew of pictures of Kris Kringle through his history, along with explanations of the evolution of the jolly old elf’s look. The magazine cover above is from 1902. -via Digg
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