And thus it begins on this October 16th: the Christmas shopping season’s slow creep into every fold of my precious brainmeats. Today, I walked past an Express in the King of Prussia Mall (the largest naturally-grown mall in the U.S.) and I saw a Christmas display.
Screw all of them. Give me Halloween and Thanksgiving, you scum!
For those of you who don’t know, Christmas is an annual celebration of the birth of The Christ.* We celebrate the holiday by buying gifts for loved ones and other ones, sometimes hiding our deeds behind the fictional character Santa Claus (usually for kids). In short, he is the Coca-Cola-ized version** of the Americanized version of the Dutch version** of the Turkish saint, St. Nicholas. I forget who said it, but he’s essentially the Jesus you can sell stuff with. Thus endith my lesson.
So, where did the name come from? Here’s my take on it. If you’re Dutch, when you say “Saint Nicholas”, it sounds like “Sant-Ni-ckLaos”. Say that a few times fast and you get very close to “Santa Claus”. And when you have that many kids saying it that many times, it’s inevitable that it turns into some bastard version. If you want to know more, check out the St. Nicholas Center.
*Thank you, Mel, for letting me know about my error in omitting the “The”.
**In one of the biggest branding coups ever, Coca-Cola successfully pinned down Santa’s fashion choice to red-and-white through relentless and iconic ad campaigns.
***As David Sedaris notes, this version of Santa Claus rides in a vehicle pulled by 8 to 10 black men. I kid you not, I confirmed this with a Dutch co-worker.