Santa Claus is coming to town a little early this year, with a ride that shines so brightly, Rudolph may get a much needed break this winter. The Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan, an 18-wheeled semi-truck decorated with 25,000 twinkling lights, helped local residents ring in the holiday season with a merry mix of activities while spreading the Christmas spirit. The caravan visited the Compare Supermarket in Washington Heights located at 3815 9th Avenue & 204th Street on Friday, December 18, from 6:00-9:00 pm. Nick Katsoris, author of the children’s book “Loukoumi’s Good Deeds,” appeared to sign copies of his book, giving away the first 150 copies.
The Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan has a 64-foot long, 13-foot high trailer entirely illuminated by sparkling red and white lights. A red cab, outlined in glowing white lights, pulls the trailer, which features the smiling likeness of the Coca-Cola Santa. A festive holiday scene – complete with a stage for performances – travels inside the trailer and is assembled at local events to add to the cheer.
The Santa image decorating the trailer is a reproduction of one of the timeless oil paintings produced by artist Haddon Sundblom. In 1931, Sundblom was commissioned by Coca-Cola to illustrate the image of Santa Claus for a magazine advertising campaign. His distinctive interpretation of St. Nick depicted a merry gentleman with rosy cheeks, a fluffy white beard and a red outfit with a large black belt. Since that time, the Coca-Cola Santa has become a universal image of the jolly old elf associated with Christmas and Coca-Cola that is recognized around the world.
Of course, the season wouldn’t be complete without a little holiday refreshment. Coca-Cola Classic multi-packs and multi-liters will include an image of the Coca-Cola Santa with a bottle of Coca-Cola. Diet Coke and Sprite packaging also will include festive holiday images, such as snowflakes and evergreen trees. The specially packaged Coca-Cola products will hit store shelves in November and carry the Coca-Cola holiday theme – Open Happiness.