Is He Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Pelznickel?

 

→ Is He Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Pelznickel?

Billy Bob Thornton as Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton as Bad Santa

Santa Klaus is exhausted. Perhaps it’s time for him to share the burden and ask for some help. Christmas isn’t going away and there are plenty of interesting alternatives waiting in the cultural shadows.

The deeper you delve into the history of Christmas figures like Santa Klaus, Belsnickel, Krampus, Frau Perchta, La Befana, Black Peter, Kris Kringle, Kallikantzaros , Farmhand Rupert, Pere Fouettard and St. Nicholas the more you realize how much broader the spectrum of folk traditions was, and still is in some places. The rise of Santa Klaus as a near monopoly in the minds of most modern Americans is a relatively recent development, and seems to have led to a kind of dumbing down of the Christmas spirit into a one dimensional experience, with the darker, yet deeply meaningful aspects of the season nearly banished from the collective consciousness.

It does not have to be this way.

As a nation whose traditions have always been an admixture transplanted from other countries it is ridiculous that the broad range of figures that have evolved over time should be marginalized by one dominating man in a red suit! I love Santa Klaus and hold no ill will towards him but I do believe the time has come for a radical revival and re-dissemination of all of the folk figures of the Christmas season

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