The Briefing

Santa Claus does exist!

Jeff Bezos, Coca-Cola, and Lou Prentiss: a slightly different Christmas story.

December 23, 2021
Reading time 2 min.

🌈 A quick taster for you:  

  • Coca-Cola did not invent Santa Claus! 
  • Capitalism loves Christmas.
  • Jeff Bezos chooses not to be Santa Claus.

🧐 Why do I care?

Ho-Ho-Holy Shit, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! For many of us in Germany, that means spending time with the family, good food, warm drinks, long chats, and plenty of presents. In the US it's a little different — Santa Claus arrives there during the night of the 24th and so it’s the morning of the 25th when all the gift-giving takes place. But why do we give each other presents at all, what does Santa have to do with it, and what role does Jeff Bezos play? 

🔍 What exactly is happening here?

  • What is the point of all this gift-giving?
    Christmas comes around each and every year. Suddenly the Amazon shopping cart is filled and we pray that everything arrives in time so that we don’t have to make a last-minute dash to the overcrowded shops.
    The idea of giving presents is basically nice. Jesus was said to have been given presents by the three kings. St. Nicholas gave presents to the poor. And these days the business of Christmas is an essential part of the retail trade — it's hard to imagine life without it. For the consumer electronics industry, the Christmas business accounts for 23.9% or almost ¼ of annual sales. The market is also immense for watches & jewelry (23.3%) and books (23.1%). 
  • Santa Claus is from Coca-Cola, isn't he?
    Everybody knows Santa! He’s the sign of Christmas for many, especially Americans (sorry @Jesus!). Santa Claus, with his long beard and fancy outfit, is actually based on an image of St. Nicholas who was a Christian bishop who helped the needy. When lots of people turned away from the church in the 19th century, the look of the character changed too. The bishop's hat and the cross were dropped — only the red coat and long beard remained! Then in 1931, the famous Coca-Cola Santa Claus was created in the likeness of Lou Prentiss. Who? Good question. Let's answer it with some more name-dropping!
    Lou was a Coca-Cola supplier and a good friend of Haddon Sundblom who was the illustrator tasked to draw a Santa Claus for Coca-Cola. Haddon looked to his friend for visual inspiration — Lou had a bit of a belly and a long white beard — and so Santa Claus, as we know him today, was born! 
    For all the fact-lovers out there: Santa Claus actually first appeared with a red coat in 1821 in the poem "The Children's Friend". 
  • And what role does Jeff Bezos have?
    Jeff Bezos has everything he needs to be Santa Claus. He has our addresses, our wish lists, and he has drones to drop presents down the chimney! But since no one has ever had a nice Christmas thanks to Santa Bezos, we conclude: Jeff Bezos refuses to be Santa Claus.

🤓 What does this mean for me?

You now know that Coca-Cola didn't invent Santa Claus. But they did help make him very popular! Maybe this fun fact will help you to steer the family debate at the Christmas table in a pleasant direction. And no matter if you celebrate Christmas or not, we wish you a wonderful and relaxing holiday time! 

And a huge thank you for supporting us this year!

More posts