Why Christmas Llamas Are a Thing: Death and Puns

It seems like you can't go anywhere without some kind-eyed ungulate wishing you a "Happy Llamakkah" or bleating "Fa La La La Llama" at you. There are llama Christmas ornaments, llama Christmas socks, llama Christmas sweaters, even giant llama inflatables to stand right next to Santa and Frosty. What gives? What on Earth do llamas have to do with Christmas? Surely, the South American animal had no business at Christ's birth on the other side of the world, and its connection to Hanukkah is even more suspect.

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The short answer is "nothing." There's no fascinating historical or zoological story that explains the extremely New World animal's shoehorning into ancient holidays -- llamas have nothing to do with Christmas. But in 2016, the author of classic children's book Llama Llama Red Pajama died, and like all great artists, her death renewed interest in her work

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Those who lord over the cushioned and brightly colored sections of bookstores began pushing it, and affluent moms -- the tastemakers of the home decor industry -- got super into llamas. Between 2017 and 2018, Pinterest saves for llama decor skyrocketed over 1,000%, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. Interior design heavyweights started incorporating llamas into their work, mothers began dressing their children as llamas for Halloween, and 2019 was declared the year of llama toys by the ironically serious folks at The Toy Insider.

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Once llamas became the new unicorn, that's when people started noticing they have a deeply punnable name. And in addition to ruling over the realms of home decor, of which "Christmas" is not a small niche, moms are also the gods of holidays and puns. As designers sensed an untapped market, we suddenly started getting all manner of "Llama Claus" merchandise. That's it: Llamas are cute, and they lend themselves to puns. That's the basis of scores of thriving Etsy businesses. Capitalism is stupid, but at least llamas are still very, very cute.

Top image: AnnaliseArt, Penguin Books

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