What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Most people do not think of mistletoe, eggnog, or gifts under the tree. The most iconic symbol of Christmas is Santa Claus, old Saint Nick. Santa is branded. Even those who do not celebrate Christmas recognize the big red suit with the white fur trim and boots. “Ho Ho Ho” is his coined laugh; who else in the world laughs like that? People all around the world celebrate Christmas and most cultures celebrate it differently. You can visit http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=76 for a list of countries to find out how people of that region celebrate. In Italy, the Italians celebrate like we do with letters to St. Nicholas and gifts in the morning. In Germany Sankt Nikolaus leaves goodies for the children in their shoes outside or under the bed to be found in the morning. Many cultures celebrate Christmas like our American tradition. But one common theme throughout these cultures is Santa Claus, whether he is called Saint Nicholas or Santa, he still wears a red suit. In certain religious cultures where he is called Saint Nick, he is a leader wearing a red robe. In Germany and the Netherlands, it’s a bishop. Saint Nick always has a beard and in the American tradition of Christmas it is a long white beard that children often tug on to see if it’s real. So we know that Santa and his appearance are branded, but is there anything else that’s branded of him? Well, what about Christmas Day parades? Whether you’re watching the Disney Christmas parade on tv or sitting on the sidewalks of your towns parade, Santa is always the last float in the parade. He is the main event. parents alongside their children wait anxiously to see the fat man in the red suit. Christmas is a religious holiday for most people but to the vast majority, the image that we picture of Christmas is of Santa. So think about that next time you’re awake too late on December 24th, peeking out of your window to see if you can see that iconic sleigh and eight reindeer with Rudolph leading the way.
Allison Day, Jessica Berinson, Megan Canny, Melissa Gagliardi, Scott Burgess