What's the origin of the Santa hat?

Not necessarily the red tuque with the pom on top, but the basic pattern.

Well, the history points to Saint Nicholas, which explains some of the color scheme (red and silver bishop’s attire).

I was wondering about the basic pattern; the style. Or did only bishops wear floppy hats? (IANA Catholic.)


Bishops don’t wear floppy hats. They wear miters. Like the pope does occasionally.

ETA: To clarify where I’m coming from St. Nicholas is the dominant December-present-distributing vaguely christian figure over here in the Netherlands, and the Christian/Catholic/Pagan influences are a bit more clear over here.

In the third century AD?

I love this part:

This probably isn’t the origin, but during Saturnalia in Roman times, everyone wore a floppy red cap.

I resurrected three murdered children but do they call me Nikolaos the Miracleworker?

No! Throw one lousy gold bag…

Didn’t Coca Cola invent it?

I would guess the modern version of Santa’s hat is based on mediaeval (and much older) caps, much like gnome hats. I expect they were very simple to make, and served their purpose well enough.

I think the question is, why do people wear hats that have a long sleeve on them, with a ball at the end.

Why not just wear a form-fitting toque?

Actually, the question is:

There is a style of hat that in the U.S. is normally associated with Santa Claus. This style of hat is made of soft, not knit, material and is conical in shape. It is either fur-lined, and the bottom normally worn turned up; or it has decorative fur around the base to simulate the effect of turning out a fur lining.

I assume that this conical hat was not invented, or designed specifically for, the character known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and other aliases. Rather, I assume that the hat was an existing design that had existed for perhaps hundreds of years before the Christmas icon was created, and that the Jolly Old Elf was dressed in an existing style. (Come to think of it, elves tend to be depicted wearing the same style of hat.)

Where did this particular type of hat originate? In what society, and in what part of the world was this a common style of headwear? For example, the ushanka is associated with Russia and Scandinavia. The Tam o’Shanter is associated with the Scots. So what group of people were associated with the hat that is the same style as the one typically shown being worn by Santa Claus?

Interesting article about the Phrygian cap. It’s very similar to the ‘Santa hat’. I associate the conical hat that is the subject of the question with Scandinavia and Germany because of the fur lining; not with ancient Asia. The Liberty cap, which derived from the Phrygian cap, looks more similar. I wonder though, if the Phrygian cap and its derivatives and the fur-lined hat in the OP are related, or if they are products of independent development.

I always thought Santa’s hat was based on a night cap (or sleeping cap) which floppier than a Phrygian cap. After all Santa, visits houses at night, and that red velvet getup looks a lot like pajamas.

I considered that. Only, I’m sure I’ve seen conical fur-lined hats depicted somewhere. Such a hat would be of more utility outdoors.

Santa’s hat is certainly fur trimmed, but, having never seen the inside, I don’t know if it is fur lined.

Yes (referring to the hat type, and not Santa’s hat specifically):


Your post is your cite?

If there is fur showing on the outside, it’s either fur-lined with the bottom turned up or it is not fur-lined and the fur is decorative.