It's Christmas time once again! But did you know that your presents may be delivered by someone different than your neighbors in other countries? Here is a quick who's who of just some of the many magical holiday gift-givers out there.
USA – Santa Claus. Everyone knows the jolly old man with the white beard from the North Pole who rides a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. He is also known for his signature laugh, red fur hat, and condition where he dies if he goes more than 3 hours without a Coca Cola.
England – Father Christmas. Pretty much identical to the American Santa Claus, except he probably calls a chimney something weird and British-y like a “vapor chute.”
The Netherlands – Sinterklaas. The most notable trait of Sinterklaas is that he is always accompanied on his ship by Black Peter, a young servant in blackface. This has led many critics to ask how in the twenty-first century the Sinterklaas story can ignore all the progress of modern society and still rely on boat travel, as well as some other stuff.
France – Père Noël. Similar to his American counterpart in appearance and mission, Père Noël delivers gifts on a magic tandem bicycle named Laurent with his sidekick Pâtisserie Sinistre—an anthropomorphic croissant who flicks his cigarette ash at children who have been naughty.
Czech Republic – Ježíšek. The name translates to “Little Jesus,” and depending on the tradition of the particular region of the country, he may take the form of the baby messiah or a Latin rapper.
Canada- Reginald. Unlike the others, Reginald is just a normal guy. No ostentatious costume; Reginald wears khakis and a muted button-up. No magic sleigh; Reginald drives a Honda. No mythical origin; Reginald has a psychology degree and worked a year as a bartender. Nothing whimsical or eccentric about him at all; Reginald’s job is delivering Christmas gifts the same way your dad’s job is being an accountant.
Greenland – James Franco. Take all the shots you want at the guy for the motivation behind some of his past artistic choices, but he took on the role of Greenlandic Christmas gift-giver with as much genuine passion as any of the veterans could have brought. So respect given where respect is due.
Mexico – Fred Claus. Brilliant marketing or a tasteless stunt? In 2007, Warner Brothers bought the Mexican Christmas gift distributor naming rights for 1.7 million dollars.
Brazil – Papai Noel. He brings gifts to all the kids on Christmas-- all the kids, good or bad. Sure, this means there are more bad kids, but wouldn’t you say it is easier to know who is truly good under this system? And philosophically isn’t this more meaningful?
Costa Rica- Rusted Root. Where are they now? The genre-bending Pittsburgh alternative band have found their new calling outside the States delivering toys and candies to the good boys and girls of Costa Rica. Leave out sliced mangoes and hemp milk for the guys on Christmas Eve. Just don’t ask them to perform “Send Me on My Way.” They are focusing on the present and not living in the past.