Whenever we think or talk about Santa Claus, a figure of an ever jolly, portly old man with a white beard in red and white suit comes to our mind. The modern American version of Santa Claus as the jolly man, who gives away gifts to children on Christmas Eve is one of the most popular legendary figures.

Almost every American has known about Santa Claus as a Christmas figure. But why is that Santa is always seen in a red suit? Was his suit always this bright color?

In 1880s, Santa was depicted in a green or tan suit. Thomas Nast, a German-born American caricaturist, is often attributed for the creation of the modern American version of Santa’s suit. His cartoon about Santa Claus and Christmas featured in Harper’s Weekly Dec. 25, 1866. In the cartoon, he drew Santa in a red suit with fur lining, a nightcap, and a black belt with a large buckle. However, he also drew the legendary figure in green suit, but the red one went on to become more popular.

The change in Santa’s suit from tan to red has often mistakenly been attributed to the work of Haddon Sundblom, who drew pictures of Santa for Coca-Cola’s advertisement since 1931.

However, in Britain, Santa Claus is popularly known as Father Christmas, who is depicted in a green suit.