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kid with santa reading a christmas list

A Very Merry Santa Story

December 10, 2020


Every family has their own unique holiday stories, and here at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, we are no exception to the rule. Back in 1953, Chicago-based artist Haddon Sundblom, a regular winter visitor of our resort, had the opportunity to contribute to ours. Known for his iconic advertising on national accounts such as Gerber Baby and Aunt Jemima, Sundblom, or "Sunny," was most famous for the illustrations of Santa Claus that he created for The Coca-Cola Company.

Sunny’s version of Santa Claus made his debut in the 1930s and depicted a jolly man with a smiling face, rosy cheeks, and a bright red suit. He was more appealing to children and consumers than the tall, thin, and somewhat serious-looking Kris Kringle of European legend and lore, and came to epitomize what many Americans today still recognize as Santa Claus. However, you might be surprised to learn that this jolly man didn’t originate from some winter wonderland reminiscent of his home in the North Pole, but was in fact created right here in the sunny Sonoran Desert of Tucson Arizona!
Bob and Beverly Nason, then owners of our resort had two daughters, Lani and Sansy, who were often used as models in Sunny’s paintings. And in 1953, he created the famous image of the girls serving Santa a Coke. For balance, the artist changed one image to a boy. That endearing image endures today on highly collectible greeting cards, serving trays, and other memorabilia.

And Sunny’s old room at the resort has been transformed into a gallery that is open to visitors for all to enjoy. Now that you know a bit of our family history, we invite you and your loved ones to create your own memories during your time at our resort—you never know when inspiration will strike!

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