Santa Claus – Beloved Stereotype

The celebration of Christmas has layer upon layer of customs and traditions. Many of these do not directly relate to the birth of Jesus two thousand years ago. Some of […]

The celebration of Christmas has layer upon layer of customs and traditions. Many of these do not directly relate to the birth of Jesus two thousand years ago. Some of these traditions are: decorated evergreen trees, caroling through the neighborhood, mulled wine, bonfires, exchanging gifts, and the annual visit of Santa Claus.

A very quick summary of the origins of Santa Claus begins seventeen centuries ago. Saint Nicholas of Myra, Turkey was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop. He was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Across the centuries, St. Nicholas became the bringer of gifts to children. During the Middle Ages in Europe, often on the evening before his name day of December 6th, children were given gifts in his honor. Later, the date of gift giving was moved to the night before Christmas. In the 19th century, the illustrations of Thomas Nast and the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit from St. Nicholas, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus as we know him today. (This is paraphrased from Wikipedia.)

This modern image of Santa has found its way into countless books, movies and television shows. Earlier Santas kept lists of good children and bad children, and the naughty ones got a lump of coal instead of something more fun. It seems now that everybody’s on his good list. So, why is our image of a kindly adult, who brings gifts to children, always a male figure? I mean, change is happening… Dr Who is now a woman!

I wondered if our modern evolution towards greater gender flexibility had caused any changes to the image of Santa Claus. I set out on a modest quest.

Deepy, dressed as Guy Santa, tries out Santa’s throne

I looked up unisex Santa Claus outfits on SL Marketplace. Basically it produced only traditional male Santa fare; red fur trimmed coat and pants, big belt, boots and the classic hat. The first item I saw in Marketplace though was a tight fitting job, pictured on a male model, that could only be described as “really gay.” It looked like a fun outfit. I got a mesh Santa suit that came with a lot of padding as the “right jolly old elf” is always pictured as being overweight.

Some outfits for women were no more than red fur trimmed bra and panties with a Santa hat. I did see two with long skirts and tasteful trimmings but they were more for Ms Claus, rather than as Santa. I did not find what I would have considered a female Santa Claus outfit. As an illustration for this column I chose a simple dress: short skirt but modest and with a Santa hat. I made a visit to the North Pole Village to get some photos in the proper setting.

Deepy, as Gal Santa, gets a cookie from Ms Claus

My brief explorations did not reveal any shifts in how we perceive Santa. Oh well, change can be slow. So, for this holiday season, even if it’s somewhat tradition bound, I wish you joy in your celebrations. Ho. Ho. Ho!.

Resources for Santa Claus

Written and Photographed by Deepthinker Oh

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