Tis the season of Santa Claus, and my neighborhood is full of these awful blow up Santa dioramas. The grinch in me hopes that some other grinch comes along with a sharp scissors and pokes a hole in all this inflatable lawn plastic.
Don’t these people realize that there’s nothing vaguely Christian or religious or spiritual about Santa Claus? That he wasn’t there at the immaculate conception? That the modern image of Santa Claus was invented by the advertising executives of the Coca-Cola company? I kid you not:
Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola featured St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit. Because magazines were so widely viewed, and because this image of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on our advertising.
Before the 1931 introduction of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus created by artist Haddon Sundblom, the image of Santa ranged from big to small and fat to tall. Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky.
God Bless America, where our religious icons come from soft-drink companies. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.