Santa Claus belongs to everybody. And we mean that literally; nobody owns the copyright on the character. That is as it should be, but it does leave room for abuse.
Here are some uses of Santa Claus that, like magic, will convert your holiday spirit into deep, dark depression.
It's the perfect situation: Since nobody owns the rights to Santa Claus, sticking him in your ad or on your product's label costs exactly zero dollars. Just ask the people at Coca-Cola, who have been featuring him on ads and packaging for more than 80 freaking years. But Coke was neither the first nor the last, and over the years pretty much every major company has had their shot with the Claus. Right, Norelco?
That's their weird-ass ad from the 60s featuring Santa, uh, riding around on a giant electric razor as if it were a sleigh.
Way to sell the benefits of the product, fellas. Then again maybe your first mistake was picking a razor spokesman who is famous for having a gigantic beard. You didn't leave yourself a lot of options.
It's important that you match Santa with the appropriate product. Like a 1-900 rap line.
Some of you kids barely remember 1-900 numbers. You really had to be there. It was the waning days of the 20th century and all bets were off. Everybody, their brother and Santa Claus had a 900 number which you could call to listen to some pre-recorded message, and then be charged outrageous amounts of money. The entire industry was built on tricking kids into calling, knowing that by the time Mom and Dad saw the phone bill, it would be too late.
Behind that Santa beard is an evil genius
That's the thing; not only can anybody use Santa, but people still trust him. Well, kids trust him. Suddenly it's, "Mommy, can I have a coke?" "Mommy, can I call 1-900-raps?" "Mommy, can you pick me up a carton of Lucky Strikes?"
Oh, yeah, that's not Photoshop. "Kids, if cigarettes really caused cancer, would Santa smoke them?" Well we guess he would since he's immortal but we don't think that was the message.
And for those who can't make out the letter from Santa, here are the highlights: "A gift that. . . brings pleasure to every nose, both great and small, is rare indeed. Such a gift is Lucky Strike."
Merry Christmas, Timmy, I brought you a lifetime of addiction. You're welcome.
Christianity is not big in Japan; less than one percent of the population is Christian. So you wouldn't think Christmas would be a big deal, but man do the Japanese people love them some Santa!
Godzilla comes and Hello Kitty goes, but for some reason Santa endures in Japan. Not that they're totally clear on the subject. Imagine you got a job at a nuclear power plant and taught yourself how to do it from old Simpsons episodes. That's kind of how Japan goes about the whole "Christmas" thing.
The bag is full of dead cats.
But Japan's love for Santa is understandable. The country has long had a, let's be charitable and say, "obsession" for the trappings of youth and innocence, what with their schoolgirl anime (read: porn). And yes, it makes for some disturbing combinations.
And don't forget to throw a little "Colonel Sanders" into the mix. Somehow, years ago, KFC managed to convince Japan that in America, fried chicken was the traditional Christmas meal.
The 12 herbs and spices of Christmas.
Thus if you are in Japan, and want your KFC fix for Christmas you better have made your reservation with Colonel Sanders Claus weeks in advance. Yeah, in Japan you need reservations. At KFC. That has to be like showing up at 7-Eleven and finding a velvet rope and bouncer at the door.
Of course, if you can make money with Santa as your unpaid go-to spokesman, why not go the full monty and just market the man himself? That way people can buy the above Santa toilet seat cover and pretend they're shitting down Santa's neck. Quick, somebody write a carol about that!
In fact, it appears that a large percentage of the American Santa Claus merchandise market is feces-based. Here's some toilet paper so you can wipe your ass with Santa's face:
And here's an "eat Santa's shit" candy dispenser.
Wait, were we making fun of Japan a minute ago? Could they have come up with this?
That's one of Todd McFarlane's action figures, from the "Twisted Christmas" line. It includes monsterized versions of Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and others. You won't get much more disturbing than that. Unless...
Guess what that is. No, really. Guess.
Did you say, "A Snuggie for your dick?" Well, you're right. And we all lose.
What's truly horrifying about that is it's homemade. Someone sat and lovingly crafted the cock-coat and sold it on eBay. Yep, sold. But really, $12 is a small price for a story your fellow employees at the Christmas party and the arresting officer will be telling for years.