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The dining room decorated for Christmas at the Biedenharn Museum.
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The Biedenharn Museum is named for local merchant Joseph Biedenharn, who was the first to bottle Coca-Cola.
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The museum features many pieces of Coca-Cola memorabilia.
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Mary works the soda fountain at the Biedenharn.
Coca-Cola and Christmas go back a long way. Ninety-one years back, to be exact. On Christmas Day, 1923, Coca-Cola received its first patent renewal for its traditional contoured bottle shape. Coke bottles produced from 1923 to 1937 bear the Christmas patent date and are still called Christmas bottles by collectors.
What’s more, the Coca-Cola Company had a lot to do with shaping our image of Santa Claus. While the jolly old elf had been in the collective imagination for a long time before Coke hit the scene, the company began featuring the modern, chubby Santa with the red suit in their advertisements in The Saturday Evening Post in 1929. Since then, Santa’s image has been used liberally in Coca-Cola marketing campaigns. Most of us have enjoyed many a can of Coke with Santa’s image emblazoned on it during the holidays over the years. Many even credit artist Fred Nitzen’s 1930 painting of Santa enjoying a cold Coke with cementing many aspects of Santa’s image, like the red suit with white trim, in the public mind, though it wasn’t the first time Kris Kringle had been portrayed that way.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is decking its halls for the Christmas season with their 2014 theme “O Christmas Tree.” The Museum, named for local merchant Joseph Biedenharn, who was the first to bottle Coca-Cola, will be open for extended hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, during the holiday season. Guests can enjoy the festive decorations, including displays of Coca-Cola advertisements and bottling from Christmases past, while sipping on a Coke served up by an old-fashioned soda jerk. Guests can stay and see Santa from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 11, 12 and 13.
In addition to the Coca-Cola Museum, the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens encompasses the Biedenharn home, which will feature numerous Christmas trees; Elsong gardens, which will be festively decorated; and a Bible museum, which will feature Books of Hours, a Nativity display.
By Scott Rutherford