Santa Claus will be represented in a few ways this year at Walt Disney World Resorts and for the first time in history, Black Santas are appearing in Disney Parks this season.

While there was no formal announcement on the decision, a Disney spokesperson told CNN that diversity will be reflected at both parks in Florida and California.

This comes at a time when many organizations are choosing to ditch the stereotype that Santa Claus is a cheerful white-haired and blue-eyed, cheerful man.

Santa’s Image Origins

Contrary to what many believe today, Santa Claus as a sleigh riding, gift-giving, and round white man started with an illustration in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, as a part of a large illustration titled, “A Christmas Furlough.”

In his later drawings, Nast reportedly added the North Pole –  the workshop for building toys and a large book filled with the names of children who had been naughty or nice. During this time, Santa was wearing blue, green, and yellow-colored suits.

By 1881, Nast’s illustration titled “Merry Old Santa” is when the modern St. Nick many relate to today started to settle in. In his drawing, Santa appeared jolly, and most importantly, the red suit was introduced.

With the help of Coca-Cola and its ad in the 1930s, Santa’s red velvet and white fur-lined suit with cherry cheeks became the common stereotype of Santa.

A Santa All Kids Can Relate To

Disney is the latest company to ditch the stereotype of Santa and show children that he comes in all races and abilities.

International Plaza recently hosted a meet and greet with Santa for deaf children and those hearing impaired.  Sponsored by the Deaf Literacy Center – Tampa Bay, children were invited to give their Christmas wishes to Santa using American Sign Language. 

Meanwhile in Chicago, the city’s Black Santa known as Dreezy Claus was the first Black Santa to preside at the annual tree-lighting ceremony at Millennium Park.

As far as Disney World goes, Black Santas have been spotted both at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

If you’re looking for Black Santas for you and your family, there’s an app for that as we previously reported.