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LETTERS: Coke's Santa - it's not the real thing

From Mr Jonathan Leckie

Sir: Recent letters to the editor on the validity of telling children the truth about the myth/lies of the existence of Santa Claus have continued to make the same error. They consistently refer to this "jolly fellow" as Father Christmas.

The facts are that Santa Claus, his personality and garb were invented by Coca-Cola in the 1920s or 1930s to sell its product, his face being based on the face of the artist who drew him. He, therefore, is a very fitting image for the commercial feeding frenzy that is Christmas.

Father Christmas is an older character, whose adoption in Britain can be attributed to Prince Albert, who introduced Father Christmas and a whole batch of pagan Christmas ideas from Germany. The nature of Father Christmas owes more to Christmas's pagan roots; he embodies the feasting and hedonistic "eat, drink and be merry" attitude and is rarely seen except in pictures trying to evoke an image of "Christmas past".

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Leckie



6 December