Santa and *that* hat: a history

December 06 2015

So, we all know Santa as the iconic character in his red outfit with fluffy white fur, and that hat. The red hat with the white bobble at the end. You can't picture him looking any different. But, the Santa that originated from Turkey in the 4th century (which is whom the legends are based on) looked very different. Here is the history, in pictures, of that famous hat.

What started out as a 4th century bishop's hat...

(Santa originated from this figure, who was very generous and donated much of his personal wealth to the poor and the sick)

...graduated to a very simple brown fur trimmed hat. 


Later on, during the civil war, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa with a variety of outfits, including a stocking cap, as well as sprigs of holly leaves and berries to contrast with his snow white hair. 



In the early 1920s, artists began to solidify the image of Santa that we're familiar with today: portly, white hair and beard, black belt and fur trimmed hat and suit:

In the 1930s, Santa made a leap into the commercial world, with a Coca Cola artists using Santa's red and white suit to promote the company's product (it's a myth that Coca Cola created the "Santa red" in order to promote their products. The red colour already existed in past images of Santa). 

And now, we come to today's Santa, who seems to be everywhere, in his red and white bobble hat. So, dressing up as Santa this Christmas? Take a cue from this bit of research, you don't necessarily need a red and white hat, you can use a beanie, a bobble hat, a brown fur hat, or even some holly sprigs!