Santa Claus, the symbol/icon that we all know. Religious, non-religious – doesn’t matter, because Santa is the most commercial attribute ever in human history. The reason why I’m writing about him today it’s because in Poland and some other European countries Santa (St Nicholas) is coming today! Yes, yes, it’s true, and it was always very confusing for me. Specially when I was a child – because answer me this question – why all the other children in the world get their presents from Santa on actual Christmas Day and some children in Europe on 6th of December? And it’s not exactly presents – most of the time it’s sweets. There is also one funny legend about it. Apparently Santa is checking first if the shoes of the children r clean. If they r not – instead of candy’s – he is leaving an old potato. Hahhaahah, really – true story!
But now let’s look at the “usual” Santa, known in the whole world. From where did we take the santa image? Probably it was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (Christian bishop – Saint Nicholas). And this is how he looked like:
The figure started to be popular in the US and Canada in 19th century (political cartoonist – Thomast Nest, cover of “Harpers Weekly” –we can already see here the commercial side – trying to connect the icon with the country – American flag (and as well reference to the Civil War – santa’s puppet)
What comes next? Of course – coca-cola. In 1930s by the cause of the man well-known in a history of commercials – Haddon Sundblom. The speculations about coca-cola role in the nowadays image of Santa never ends. Some people may say, that even the colours of Santa’s coat (white and red) was invented by coca-cola – just to make the connection with a product (but actually that’s not truth).
After coca-cola it was a fast way to go. He was appearing in shopping malls, parade’s, more commercials etc. Whether we like it or not, he has a huge part in the pop-culture and that’s a fact.
If you want to approach this topic from more “sociological” side, I recommend you this article: http://soctheory.iheartsociology.com/2011/11/29/santa-claus-a-form-of-panoptical-surveillance/
And for a dessert, coca-cola commercial from this year:
And other things that will make you laugh:
Some old commercials…
…and a scene from “The Office”
Thanks for reading, cheerylady 🙂