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Santa the pitchman...

Morgan Putnam

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Why should we care about Christmas since it's just an overly commercialized holiday and Santa is just an advertising pitchman?

There's not a holiday that hasn't been commercialized. Valentines Day? Cards and candy. Independence Day? Fireworks. Labor Day? BBQ grills and vacation spots. Halloween? Not even going to bother with that one. Cupid, Uncle Sam, Boogie-men, then Santa. And Christmas? It's a retailers dream of a holiday:gift giving on steroids. And people seem to want to blame the symbol of the commercialization and NOT the commercialization itself.

Whether you believe in the Christian religion and the dogma is...irrelevant. The story of the birth of a savior of mankind is a powerful tale that's lasted thousands of years. And traditions have been appropriated from other stories and traditions from Pagan (Christmas trees) , to Nordic (Odin and his 8 legged horse in the sky) , from multiple traditions (mistletoe & holly), to Christianity (the bishop gift giver St. Nicholas) to...you name it. And out of that multi-millenial, multi-cultural, multi-religion-stew wafted Father Christmas and Sinter Klass who became Santa Claus.

And as a pitchman: Santa and Christmas go together like a hand in a glove. Gift-giving holiday (Holy day) and gift-giver St. Nicholas.

And ad-men frankly, abuse him. So he's used to sell everything from soft drinks to time shares. And what gets lost in all the imagery and advertising copy is the SPIRIT of giving. Whether it's a savior giving his life to save mankind, or wise-men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, or a father and mother sacrificing so the children they love can have gifts under the tree; too many people forget it's not about the buying, it's not about the getting, IT'S ABOUT THE GIVING.

Christmas is at it's heart, a Christian holy day. But it's also more than that. It's also a secular holiday that celebrates giving and the love that that giving represents. And that's who Santa really is. He's the symbol of that love and giving. He's a symbol of what we human beings COULD be...if we'd just try a little harder and get out of own way. He's a lasting symbol of what is noblest and best in humanity. Our love for, and giving to, one another. Santa is the antithesis of, and the lasting cure for, our post-industrial, information deluged, cynical age.

Santa's spirit of giving generosity is what truly professional Santa portrayals (professional in the sense of dedication to craft & artistry) aspire to and try to emulate. And succeed at & fail at, as we all do. But the honest and lasting nobility is in the continual attempt.

And I'd offer that that aspiration to emulate Santa's nature of loving giving; makes us not just better Santas...but better human beings.

Just something that's been on mind a while...

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