December 5, 2007

Joyous St. Nicholas Day!

Happy St. Nicholas Day.

Shalom, From ASLaN

(image from Der Nikolaus)

Anti-Claus Contest Submission Guidelines

All you artists and photographers who have had it with Santa, go HERE to see the submission guidelines and great examples of previous anti-Claus artwork.

Great pictures like the one above, from Robert Cenedella, will be the kind of quality that we are looking for in submissions.

You can buy a print of this infamous 1989 painting at Mr. Cendella's website.

Anti-Claus Art Contest Launched
On St. Nicholas Day

ASLaN announced the launching of the First Annual Anti-Claus Art and Photo Competition today. Here are excerpts from the Press Release:

December 6, AD 2007 -- 198 years to-the-day from when Washington Irving began the Americanization of St. Nicholas, the International ASLaN Society has launched an art competition that hopes to eventually knock Santa Claus from his cultural throne.

"We are calling on artists who are seriously sarcastic or sick of the Santamania that breaks out each year to step up and join the resistance in the War on Santa," said Walter Skold, the founder of the Anti-Santa Love Nicholas Society.

"Here is your chance to be the Thomas Nast of the growing anti-Claus movement," he said, referring to the 19th Century German-American illustrator "whose work helped to convert St. Nicholas from a saint into someone who is now a fat red huckster from Hollywood."

It was almost 200 years ago that Washington Irving created so many of the modern myths associated with the Americanized Santa Claus, when he published Knickerbocker's History of New York, on St. Nicholas Day in 1809.

Submission details and examples of global anti-claus artwork can be found at

December 3, 2007

"I Killed Jesus" Xmas Card

For $30.00 you can buy a signed lithograph by Darren Cullen, the young atheist and anti-capitalist artist whose work was met with censorship in Scotland (See previous post).

Of course, since one of ASLaN's goals is to promote worship of the joyous Christ of the Nativity, we take issue with some of young Darren's sentiments. But, he does share ASLaN goal #1, which is derision and criticism of the Santa Cult.

He write on the website where you can buy his artwork:
“In these abundant and godless times of ours - Santa Claus fills the hole in our calendar once used to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The 'Son of God' is little more than a footnote in this annual festival of greed. Not that I think we should all go to church and beg forgiveness; as an atheist and an anti-capitalist I believe both can go (Bleep). What I find interesting is the competition between these two gods and the way Western 'Christian' society still manages to maintain belief in one while being openly, orgasmically seduced by the other. Stroll around any of the urban hubs of our civilisation at Christmas and you will be bombarded with flashing signs, LCD screens and billboards declaring the glorious message of our times: Jesus is dead! Long live Santa!”
Darren Cullen, 2006.

Anti-Santa Artwork Censored

OK, this story is two years old, but it is worth repeating, as this kind of thing happens to people who dare to challenge the Santa Industry.

An art student in Glasgow, Scotland, had his ad pulled because the message did not sit well with others.

Darren Cullen said:
Santa Claus is a lie that teaches kids that products will make them happy.

"Before they're old enough to think for themselves, the story of Santa has already got them hooked on consumerism.

"I think that's more immoral than this billboard."

The environmental art undergraduate said his work is influenced by a four-year stint on advertising courses in Leeds, his home city, and Glasgow.

Whoa, here is a great ASLaN quote from this young artist, now 24:

"But when those consumers were children, instead of Christmas being a celebration of Jesus, who was quite a vocal opponent of materialism and, therefore, a rubbish spokesman for Christmas - they were told about Santa Claus and all the amazing shiny products he was going to bring them, all for free.""But when those consumers were children, instead of Christmas being a celebration of Jesus, who was quite a vocal opponent of materialism and, therefore, a rubbish spokesman for Christmas - they were told about Santa Claus and all the amazing shiny products he was going to bring them, all for free."

St. Nicholas is Coming Soon

As December 6th approaches, more and more news stories are describing how St. Nicholas is coming to churches and community gatherings all over the US -- and the world!

We'll update this page as the happy Feast Day approaches.

South Bend, IN
Oshkosh, Wisc.

Advent St. Nicholas Prayer

For those of you so inclined (the agnostic and/or non-Christian members of ASLaN have other traditions at this season of Light), the good folks over at the St. Nicholas Society, in the UK, have posted this very nice little Advent prayer:

Good St Nicholas,

Help us prepare for the miracle of the coming of Jesus.

Help us not to be blind to the gifts of getting ready.

Help us be sincere in the greetings we send and receive, with love and prayer.

Kind St. Nicholas, protect us from shoppers' fatigue, stress, overspending, yet help us to be kind and generous of heart to all, especially those who are alone, financial poor and fearful.

May our celebration of your feast lead others to see the true meaning f giving and receiving and to guide all people to

The greatest of all gifts, even Jesus Christ, prince of peace and child of Mary, Our Lord and only saviour.


Santa Horror Show (i.e. Czech ads)

You want to know why more and more people are tired of Santa, as a symbol of the season of God's love and midwinter feasts?

This picture is just one of many from the website, coming to you from the Czech Republic. There you will see a growing list of pictures of how marketing execs are using (and abusing) the image of Santa to sell people things.

I hate to sound like a whining extreme leftist (I am not), but this pushing of Santa Claus is a type of cultural imperialism and a shocking betrayal of a nation's own values and traditions. We in American cannot quite understand the horror of Santa replacing either St. Nicholas, or in the case of Czechs, Baby Jesus, with the plastic, fat, Santa being plastered all over so many products, like a coat of ugly red paint.

December 2, 2007

2008 Christmas Essay published in Maine paper

Thanks to the editors of the Sun Journal, in Lewiston, Maine, for publishing ASLaN's 2008 Christmas Essay.

It is a specially-edited version of the original essay, which Sint Knicker wrote to further the public debate, and we appreciate a newspaper that fosters such debate.

If you are wondering what the "blue thing" is that is lodged in Belschnickle's lovely white belt, it happens to be a Shofar.

Time to blow the Trumpet in Zion, and sound the alarm: Santa's days are numbered, his writing is on the wall, his kingdom is not an everlasting one, and his lies will be exposed before all men!

The problem is: they are such nice lies! They are so warm, and sentimental, and smoothed over with a goodness that seems natural and pure. Like any good lie worth its pepper, the doctrines of the modern American Santa reflect the humanism of the cultural and artistic elites who continue to promote the feel-good Santa.

*The photograph appeared in the Sun Journal, with no name. Thanks to the person who shot it; the copyright belongs to you (actually, the Sun Journal)

St. Nicholas: A to Z

Just a webliographic reminder as we enter the 2007 AD Advent Season:

The St. Nicholas Center is by far the best online resource for all things Nicholas.

They have history, pictures, kid's activities, and tons more pictures. It is truly an amazing website and ASLaN wishes the men and women of the Center a fantastic St. Nicholas Day, which is coming up very soon indeed.

Sankt Niklaus Lives!

From the Post-Bulletin, in MN:

As Father Nicholas Kasemeotes gestured toward the iconography on the sanctuary wall of Holy Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church, a slight smile crossed his face when he came to the image of a bearded old man in a robe.

"This is St. Nicholas," he said.

Except for the white whiskers, there is little in the image that would make one associate this 4th century bishop with his contemporary incarnation as ol' St. Nick -- or Santa Claus. Unlike the plump, jolly old elf, the saint's figure is lean, almost gaunt. Instead of a red suit and red stocking cap, he is clothed in liturgical vestments, complete with a mitre on his head. And in his hands, he carries not a bag of toys, but the scriptures.

"He was a very powerful figure in the life of the church," Kasemeotes said.

Happy Advent!

ASLaN wishes all a very, very joyous Advent.

Our world is filled with sorrow upon sorrow,
yet joy comes like the dew on the grass.
The birth of Jesus still brings Light --
O may we all receive Him!

ASLaN has a page of Christmas poems and links to literature ppropriate for this holy season.

December 1, 2007

Belschnickle Visits LL BEAN

Belschnickle paid a friendly visit to Freeport, Maine today.

He went to confront the large, blow-up Santa on Main St., but the brisk wind had already knocked the fat bag of air down.

Sounds like a story of Samson, right out of holy Writ! Dagon, the pagan god, knocked right over in his own temple!

Canadian Meets Little Sinterklaas

Time prevents us from making any theological comments, on the supposed essence of Christmas, but here is an excerpt from a Canadian woman who encountered Sinterklaas "in the flesh" this year. From Radio Netherlands:

But the best part was meeting three-year-old Riley. Wearing a costume made by his mother, he was the most perfect little Sint I could imagine. When I asked him what the best part of the parade was, he told me - with wide-eyed honesty - that The Real Sinterklaas had shaken his hand.

For me it doesn't matter that he's a Dutch boy celebrating Sinterklaas and I'm a Canadian girl fondly remembering Santa Claus, Riley was the essence of the Christmas spirit: childhood innocence, absolute faith, and simple joy.

Sinterklaas vs. Santa in Holland

Lousewies van der Laan, a former MP in Holland writes about the war over Xmas in Holland:

Yes, as the festive season descends upon us, even in the Netherlands we have political debates about Sinterklaas (the bearded bishop you see sold in chocolate in your local supermarket).

It's not along the American lines of replacing the Christian-centred "Merry Christmas" with the more neutral "Season's Greetings". No, it is a full-fledged economic and cultural battle between our great traditional Sinterklaas and that tacky American Santa.

Purists will point out that whereas Christmas has descended into a competitive "my-gift-is-more-expensive-than-yours" feast, gifts from Sinterklaas are truly anonymous and as such more in the true spirit of giving.

In addition, a poem is often included, which allows for mild reprimands, which the Calvinist Dutch adore. Finally, there is the "surprise" (pronounced sur-pree-za) whereby you do something artistic like wrap your present up to resemble something different or organise a trail with hints through the house. All much more industrious and creative than having Macy's wrap it for you."

11% of Dutch Believe Santa in Bible

Oivee.... 28 November 2007

AMSTERDAM – More than 11 percent of the Dutch believes that Santa Claus is a character from the Bible. This emerged on Wednesday from a poll of 2,700 people by website

November 30, 2007

Boston Globe Confirms:
Santa an Obese Glutton

We at ASLaN told you so.
Santa is an obese glutton, full of several, if not all, of the deadly sins.

The Boston Globe has just confirmed this in a story on obesity.
Seems like a top doc in MASS. said it would do us all very good if Santa slimmed down. He is setting a bad example for kids, it turns out.

Well, no Ho Ho, what did one of the local fake Santas have to say about that?
“It would cripple the image of Santa if they were to take his weight away,” said Santa Jim Manning, owner of South End-based
What he really means is that it would cripple the profits of the Santa scam.

Calling all Santaconabulists

Calling all Santacon Artists!
(That's not con artists)

Raise up your pens, cameras, & brushes
in toast of the spirit of anti-Claus
and send ASLaN your entries!

You could win $50.00 bucks
& the praise
of art critics everywhere.

All entrants will automatically win
membership into AOTAC:
The Amalgamated Order of the Anti-Claus.

Anti-Claus Art Competion Launched

The 2008

Anti-Claus Art & Photo Competition

has been launched in this happy Advent Season.

All you artists, admen, and photographers -- grab your swords
and raise your pens and brushes in the War on Santa!

Entry details, along with examples, are here...

2008 Resist Santa Campaign Launched

-- In conjunction with the 15th annual Buy Nothing Day, the International Anti-Santa Love Nicholas Society launched its 2008 "Resist Santa Campaign" today.

"ASLaN is pleased to join with activists from around the globe who are resisting the Santa racket and protesting the spiritual obesity of "The Claus," said Sinter Knicker, ASLaN's founder.

The campaign began on Buy Nothing Day with the appearance of "Belschnickle" at the Portland, Maine Christmas tree lighting ceremony,
and with the release of the 2007 ASLaN Christmas Essay, "Just Say No to the Ho Ho Ho."

Belschnickle was one of the helpers of Saint Nicholas in German folklore, whose tradition was brought to Pennsylvania with immigrants but whose existence was eventually obliterated by the American Santa.

Knicker said Belschnickle is scheduled to make other appearances in Auburn and Freeport in order "To silently protest the obscenity that poor St. Nicholas has morphed into in our crazy culture."

Read the rest of the Press Release


He’s calling on children to bless the poor
And calling on children to follow the Lord!
He’s calling on parents to open their Doors
And let St. Nicholas enter once more!

He’s calling for justice and calling for prayer
And calling for people to wake up and care
For the orphans with AIDS who live in despair
And Darfurians murdered by laissez faire.

He’s warning all people entrapped by the snare
Of a misfit who lies, and who leads them to err
In the service of Mammon, the great Grizzly Bear
Who drags off his victims to Beelzebub’s lair.

He’s calling on those who flock to the store
To break their addictions and lustings for more;
He’s calling for peace, and he’s calling for war—
For he’s calling out Santa for being a whore!



November 19, 2007


Check out this awesome catalogue of

And even better than the items there, Saint Nicholas of Myra would like remind all children that the best things pertaining to LIFE are indeed FREE!

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
And let him who hears say, "Come!"
Whoever is thirsty, let him come;
and whoever wishes,
let him take the free gift of the water of life.

Jesus Christ, as told to the Apostle John

November 17, 2007

Santa & The Czechs

Of course not all Czechs feel this way about the US import, Santa, but it is heartening to see the resistance growing. And we don't need St. Nicholas coming along to raise the dead Santa either.

November 14, 2007

Ho Ho!

According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Santas across Australia are rebelling against attempts to change their saying to a more politically correct, "ha, ha, ha."

It all started when the recruitment firm Westaff – which has offices both in the United States and Australia – told its Christmas trainees that the "ho, ho, ho" phrase could frighten children and possibly be derogatory to women.

The directions have prompted some Santa trainees to quit the program.

One told the Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute.

"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, head of the campaign against sexualizing children called Kids Free 2B Kids. "We are talking about little kids who do not understand that 'ho, ho, ho' has any other connotation and nor should they. Leave Santa alone."

On the Contrary:



November 10, 2007

OK, Not Really "Buy Nothing":
But Certainly Less

(They want you to click the banner)

The advocates of the Buy Nothing Christmas campaign have a provocative slogan, but it is not meant to be taken literally. Their press release from 2006 explains this.
Despite the name, the Buy Nothing Christmas campaign is not really about refusing to spend a dime over the holiday season. It’s about taking a deep breath and deciding to opt out of the hype, the overcrowded malls, and the stressful to-do lists. It’s about reminding ourselves to really think about what we are buying, why we are buying it, and whether we really need it at all.
It is more like a "Buy Less" campaign. For ASLaN, it isn't the giving of gifts to family, friends, and the needy that is so seedy, it is the Cult of Santa that has grown up around the message that St. Nicholas preached, and how that has entangled so many people in such a web of lies, guilt, and marketing hits.

Canadian Mennonites Answer WWJB?
Buy Nothing Christmas O7

A group of crazy Mennonites (I mean, anyone who advocates less shopping during Advent must be crazy, right?) has this excellent "Buy Nothing Christmas 07" campaign going in Canada. Perhaps it will spread to the USA, and around the world?

There is a free information kit to find out more how you and yours can join the resistance!

What Would Sinterklass Buy?

What Would Sinterklass Buy?

Not sure, but given his original message of helping the poor and not living in luxury, and his policy of being frank and honest and compassionate with sinful children, he would certainly have a very large supply of coal in his bag if he came to my city.

The ever-excellent Saint Nicholas Center has a page on Sinterklaas.

What Would Jesus Buy?

What Would Jesus Buy?

Hmmmm, is that billion dollar question, or what?

He has already bought, at the greatest price paid ever, the redeemed.

As God the Son, He is not in need of something to buy.

As Man, the Son and Mediator, He had wants on Earth, which Mary and Joseph provided for. Not sure there was a WallMart near Nazareth, though?

He has taken up our human nature, and lives through his Body, on Earth now. We are the ones doing the shopping and giving. Do those who follow Him (and not all supporters of ASLaN profess to follow Him) honor Him in their shopping and giving?

Advent is a good time for reflection on this question.

ASLA Gear for EX-MAS

The Anti-Santa Liberation Army
has all your anti-Santa needs,
like this button.

They have shirts and mugs, etc.

GREAT for the Anti-Santa in your life!

November 8, 2007

Buy Nothing Christmas, 2006

The Buy Nothing Xmas 2006 Press Release has some ASLaN-approved sanities:


RECLAIMING THE SEASON: Those of us who shiver at the thought of hour-long line-ups and $5 gift tags finally have something to rejoice about over the holidays: fed-up citizens and social activists from across the world are inviting everyone to take part in Buy Nothing Christmas.

Inspired by the international successes of Buy Nothing Day, and disgusted with the personal debt, spiritual emptiness, and ecological damage that the holiday season now entails, writers and activists began to heavily promote the idea of a downshifted Christmas in the late nineties. Since then, the idea has been taken up by individuals, community groups, churches, and schools in at least a dozen countries, with strongest support in Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Despite the name, the Buy Nothing Christmas campaign is not really about refusing to spend a dime over the holiday season. It’s about taking a deep breath and deciding to opt out of the hype, the overcrowded malls, and the stressful to-do lists. It’s about reminding ourselves to really think about what we are buying, why we are buying it, and whether we really need it at all.

“First and foremost, it’s about restoring authenticity to one the world’s great religious and secular traditions,” said Kalle Lasn, editor-in-chief of Adbusters magazine and long-time advocate of holiday restraint. “Christmas has been warped beyond recognition by commercial forces. It’s about time we took it back.”

There is more, but that is the core.

Join the Buy Nothing Day Campaign

(November 23 in the USA and Canada, November 24 internationally)
STOP SHOPPING TO GO GREEN, says a press release from the Buy Nothing Day Campaign:

This November, environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in as many as 65 countries will hit the streets for a 24-hour consumer fast in celebration of the 15th annual Buy Nothing Day, a global cultural phenomenon that originated in Vancouver, Canada.

Featured in recent years by the likes of CNN, MSNBC, Wired, the BBC, USA Today, The Age and the CBC, the international event has been gaining mainstream momentum as the climate crisis drives average people to seek out greener alternatives to unrestrained consumption.

Timed to coincide with one of the busiest shopping days on the US retail calendar, as well as the unofficial start of the international holiday-shopping season, Buy Nothing Day has taken many shapes, from relaxed family outings, to free, non-commercial street parties, to politically charged public protests. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending.

Read more.

Here Comes Anti-Claus,
Here Comes Anti-Claus...


Be on the lookout for a special announcement
about our 2007 RESIST SANTA Campaign.

November 6, 2007

Santa Drunk Again: in Prague

ASLaN's friends in the Czech Republic realize the same connection between Santa and drinking that the adverts at White Rock did.

The growing international resistance to "The Claws" can be seen in the unique, controversial, and clever pictures that these Czech admen have assembled.

There is one in there from Sinter Knicker too. Look for Mao....

Santa Claus: A Biography

Here is the cover of the ASLaN-approved book by the Santa/Xmas scholar, Gerry Bowler.

More, from a chapter insert, on how Coke changed and solidifed the Santa mirage for millions of Americans:

"Sundblom's genius in his decades of work for Coca-Cola was not that he added anything to our knowledge of Santa Claus but that he made a familiar image even more likeable and widespread. Sundblom's vision of the gift-bringer emphasized lavishness and self-indulgence. In the middle of the Depression, he scorned the meagre street-corner and department-store Santas to produce one who was the roliest-poliest yet, clad in an abundance of furs, with a jaunty angle to his white moustache, and a penchant for raiding other people's refrigerators."

Coke STOLE Santa Marketing Idea

As this page from the White Rock Collectors Association clearly shows, Coca-Cola stole the idea for using a big, red Santa for marketing.

Unless another company wants to claim first dibbs, it looks like White Rock was the first major beverage Co. to use Santa for selling sugar and sweets to American consumers.

See the very interesting page for other B&W and color advertising examples.

Gerry Bowler, the Santa and Christmas scholar from Manitoba, put these words into the mouth of Santa for a Dec 23, 2005 Q&A with Macleans magazine, in Canada.

I'm told you once did a campaign with Coca-Cola, before my time, that was a particular hit. In fact, it's a legend in the marketing industry. Can you tell me about it?
Sure. In the 1920s Coke was undergoing a lot of attacks from the Women's Christian Temperance Union -- very curiously, they didn't like all that caffeine -- and there was a U.S. senator who claimed that Coca-Cola caused sterility in women and affected brain power. So Coca-Cola was looking around for something to brighten up its image, to make it more wholesome, less medicinal, and something that would encourage soft-drink consumption during the winter. The company hired a commercial artist, Haddon Sundblom, who did magnificent paintings from the '30s to the '60s. He really captured my expansiveness, the richness of my furs, my folds of fat, my jollity. Those ads are interesting because they portray Santa not only as a deliverer of goods but actually as a consumer. If you look at those ads, I'm always portrayed going through somebody else's refrigerator, you know, or playing with their toys.
Gerry Bowler also goes on to say in an excerpt from his book, "Santa Claus, A Biography",

"It is far too frequently believed that Sundblom's work for Coca-Cola created the familiar red-and-white-clad Santa of the modern era. In fact, the Coke Santa was in no way groundbreaking; illustrators for the Saturday Evening Post such as J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell had already helped fix the standard Santa in the public's mind.* Nor was the Atlanta company even the first purveyor of soda to use the gift-bringer in its ads. That honour belongs to the White Rock Natural Mineral Spring Company of Waukeshar, Wisconsin, which advertised mineral water and ginger ale in Life magazine in 1923 and 1924. Two full-page ads show a portly Santa Claus, reading letters and delivering presents, with a bottle of White Rock and (despite Prohibition) a whisky bottle close at hand..."

Santa, Whiskey & White Rock

.White Rock had ole' un-Saint Nick as an alcoholic even before Coke used the American icon as an image to sell soda.

As the next post will relay, Coke stole the image from White Rock beverages. Figures: since Clement Moore stole the original St. Nick poem, by claiming authorship when he was not, so too most folks think Coke originated the fat, red, Santa that has so infested the world.

November 4, 2007

Santa & The Little Red Book
An ASLaN Photo Exhibit

ASLaN is please to present an photography exhibit By our founder, Sinter Knicker.

It is divided into:
Red Christmas;
Icons; and
Happy Holiday from the Chairman

"The Santa Industry" Part II

.This illustration is so excellent that I wanted to highlight it in a single blog.

Great job Gillian Macleod, who drew the fantastic piece for The Coast. Her artwork and photography can be enjoyed at her website

The Santa Industry: Part 1
Confession of a Mall Santa Manager

If ASLaN had come across this wonderful article last Advent, we would have given the author our 2006 ASLaN Award for best original article. Megan Wennberg is the author of this must-read article for anyone looking into the Mall Santa business. She is a professional photographer and writer and is also the writer for the movie Santa Inc: Where Greed Meets Giving," which we blogged about recently.

Here are some excerpts from "The Santa Industry," but the whole is worth reading. We are trying to secure copyright permission to post the whole article on our website.

Every year, millions of children line up in malls across the continent to sit with a fat man in a red suit. It’s a bizarre ritual, this annual pilgrimage to hand our children over to appropriately attired strangers in the hopes they’ll smile while the moment is photographed. The weirdness is compounded by the fact that many of these scenes are played out on the turf of a small number of companies created with the express purpose of profiting from the emotional baggage of the season...

It was surreal to witness the Santa machine laid bare, systematically exposed in all its component parts. Every aspect of Cherry Hill’s Santa photo business is meticulously planned, from how to file daily reports, make bank deposits and treat customers, to what Santa’s helpers should wear, how to display merchandise and what to look for when hiring Santa Clauses...

...We are accosted by hundreds of Santa clones every year as they ho-ho-ho at us from posters, greeting cards, billboards and TV commercials in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This image of Santa Claus sells and hiring the most saleable Santa means gaining an edge over the competition...

Santa’s mall oasis of Christmas decorations and photo packages wasn’t always the happiest place at the shopping centre, but excited kids generally outnumbered those in distress and it was touching to witness instances of pure, joyful belief as a child encountered her bearded hero for the first time. For parents, these moments transcended the crush of frantic shoppers, parking-lot rage and the incessant blaring of carols they had been forced to overcome to attain them. For others, the liquor and drug stores were only metres away...

...I experienced my first Christmas hangover when I was seven years old. It had nothing to do with alcohol. It’s the feeling I got after I’d opened all my presents and sat surrounded by them, knowing I should be ecstatic but instead feeling hollow with disappointment. The mood seemed totally unreasonable and my sense of melancholy was compounded by guilt.

I now understand the hangover as a natural outcome of the tremendous emotional build-up to Christmas. To a child, Christmas is the ultimate holiday, complete with theme music, a parade, candy, decorations and a full day of unwrapping presents delivered by a magic flying elf. It’s no wonder that by the time Christmas morning dawned, I was so wired on impossible expectations reality couldn’t help but fall short."

She has a reflective ending (but I am probably already over copyright restrictions with this excerpt), so go ahead and read the original at The Coast.

November 3, 2007

The BBC on Santa

The BBC has an archive of excellent videos about Santa Claus (Father Xmas).

They also have an extensive archive of news stories and features related to the bearded anti-saint.

ASLan will highlight a few of them in the coming Advent season.

Motorola Spreads the Santamania
Santa in China #3

Motorola is selling phones and other gadgets this year with a hearty, Western, big fat red Santa fellow.

You can watch the video of the Motorola sales schpiel online.

Dancing Santesses on Ice
Santa In China, #2

More dancing Santesses from this website in China.

The date looks like 2006-12-24 08:04:16.0.

Anyone who can read Chinese is free to post some translations in the comments section.

Shenyang "Santa"
Santa In China, pt.1

This is the first post in an ongoing series on "Santa in China: Foreign Devils, Delicious Exports, and Cultural Revolutions."

The International ASLaN Society was founded in Northern China, in 1995, in a Province not far from the great city of Shenyang, where this picture was taken. At that time, as our research will show, the beginnings of the International Santa Cult were just beginning to come public in China (apart from the zillions of Santa-related products which were being manufactured there in factories).

In this picture, a lovely Santess is swimming in water so cold that it would permanently damage any male Santa's ability to have offspring. People in Northern China love to jump into the icy waters, a spectacle I saw once, but did not dare follow.

New Documentary "Santa Inc"

.A new documentary film "Santa Inc.: Where Giving Meet Greed",
is set to be released soon, though the date is not yet announced.

You can view a trailer of the movie here. The clip is an excellent synopsis of the main themes.

It looks like a GREAT film that is sure to raise a much-needed rational discussion about the excesses of the Santa Cult. It is very well-balanced, and gives the views of pro-Santa folks fairly.

Here is the publicity info from Tell Tale Productions:

Santa, Inc. will explore the myth, the man and the multi-million dollar industry that is Santa Claus. Who is he? What does he mean to children, to adults, to consumers? In an age when Christmas is for sale earlier and earlier every year, what does it mean that Santa Claus is touted as the secular God of love and giving while simultaneously serving as the poster boy for the biggest sales event of the year?

Award winning writer and former mall Santa manager Megan Wennberg will take viewers behind the beards of a variety of Santas to expose the multiple personalities of this cultural and commercial icon. She’ll introduce viewers to aspiring Santas Dave and Floyd. Both men have one year's experience playing the Big Guy under their belts, and they’re hoping to get a jump on the competition by attending Santa School in Calgary with Canada’s Top Santa, Victor Nevada.

We’ll also meet Frank, James and Susan. These rebel Santas call themselves ‘Santarchists,’ and are determined to free Santa from the shackles of goodness, and bring him over to the naughty side once and for all by attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

Santa, Inc. will also gain the perspective of marketing guru William Arruda on why Santa is the perfect brand, confront the CEO of the largest employer of shopping mall Santa’s in the world regarding their racist hiring practices, visit the village in Finnish Lapland that claims to be Santa’s real home, and finally, go to the place where Christmas is really made: factories in China.

At a time of year when strangers alternately wish each other well and trample each other to get the latest discount gadget, Santa’s throne straddles the divide between magical Christmas Spirit and the crazed greed of consumerism. Santa, Inc. will tread that line in seeking to answer this simple question: Has Santa sold out, or can he be redeemed?

©2006 Tell Tale Productions Inc.

October 11, 2007


Judging by news stories in recent years, it is clear that international resistance to Santa is growing. While it may be hardest to resist the "spirit of Santa" where his worship is most persistent - i.e. the United States - even here we are witnessing a resurgence of reason, and passion for the Christ, which is working behind the scenes to topple the idol from his throne.

The work will not be easy; but it is necessary.

This Advent season ASLaN will be asking just how people and communities can "Resist Santa"?

It doesn't work to "just so Ho!"

Future posts will give readers practical answers which have been culled from the practice of saints and sinners alike, who are united in their disgust and/or just plain annoyance at the way in which the Santa myth has become so distorted and perverted in our culture.

October 10, 2007

First Ex-Mas Ad -- Uuugh

One of Sinter's sons called him last Sunday evening to tell him the dismal news that he had seen the first commercial for Ex-Mas 2007....

Shame on VISA!

This was the day BEFORE Columus Day....

ASLaN says: Resist Santa!

January 7, 2007

Mary Christmas, MOSCOW II

This beautiful picture from the Radio Free Europe news page.

January 7, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- From Russia to Ethiopia, Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas today.

In Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Aleksy II, celebrated a midnight Mass for 5,000 people at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The five-hour service was broadcast on national television.

Orthodox Christmas was not officially recognized by the communist regime, but became a public holiday in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Communists demolished thousands of churches, including Christ the Savior Cathedral, which was rebuilt in the late 1990s.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, began Christmas ceremonies for Greek, Syrian, and Coptic churches at the ancient Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on January 6.

Mary Christmas, SERBIA

This page explains the Christmas traditions in Serbia and surrounding areas. Lots of great pictures for this holiest and happiest holidays, when our Savior was born!

Mary Christmas, Russian Cosmonauts!

Fascinating MSNBC story from 2006 about the revival of Orthodox Worship in a former center of atheism in the Soviet Union. Praise Be to Him, Christ is Born!

For almost half a century, Russian rockets and space travelers have assaulted the heavens from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Soviet spaceport in Central Asia that was portrayed as the shining symbol of a communist future. Now one of the last sights for departing space crews is the shiny domes of a new Russian Orthodox church — where they have their own way of reaching toward heaven.The city of the space workers was originally named “Leninsk” in honor of the founder of the Soviet state, a champion of the official atheism under which priests were imprisoned and churches were burned. Cosmonauts in the Soviet era were often quoted as joking, “We have been to heaven, and didn’t see God there."

But in a radical cultural revolution, the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991 unleashed a long-underground religious impulse even among the elite of Soviet society, “rocket scientists” and the military hierarchy.

“Almost every cosmonaut brings with him into space his personal icons,” said Gennady Padalka, who commanded the 9th expedition aboard the international space station in 2004. In addition, a copy of the famous icon of “St. Mary of Kazan” is displayed on a panel in the Russian segment of the station. It was placed there in 2000 by the very first long-term crew.

As the story later relates (NASA, are you listening?)

Father Sergey is also an enthusiast for space exploration, which he sees as making manifest the glory of God. “Man can go into space, that’s good," he told the newspaper. "He can view unbounded horizons, other planets, and appreciate how wisely this entire gigantic “mechanism” was constructed, in which everything is computed literally to the millimeter. And every sane person, discovering all this knowledge himself must say, 'Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who hast so wondrously made it all.'”

Mary Christmas Kazakhstan!

ASTANA. January 7. KAZINFORM. /Kurmat Samarkhan/ - Today Kazakhstanis gathered in the Constantine Helen Orthodox cathedral in Astana and worshipped at Christmas services, Kazinform reports.

According to the head of the cathedral, Archimandrite Serapion, the Feast of the Nativity, from which the new history of mankind starts, is the most important day for the Orthodox Christians.

- We must appreciate the values Jesus taught us, and understand that the most important of them is peace and safety of our country, Archimandrite Serapion said. .

Besides, during the day, the Kazakhstanis will observe the Feast of the Nativity at all churches and cathedrals of the country. A special Christmas concert will be held tonight at 18:00 in the Zhastar Palace of Astana.

Mary Christmas, ALASKA

More pictures from the 2006 Christmas celebration in Alaska.

Mary Christmas, Azerbaijan!

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has extended Christmas congratulations to the Orthodox Christians of the Azerbaijan Republic, APA reports.

“I cordially congratulate you, the Christian community of Azerbaijan, on the occasion of the blessed Christmas holiday, and extend my most sincere wishes to all of you.

Christianity has existed in Azerbaijan since ancient times. It is not by mere chance that our country was the first in the Caucasus, where Christian temples were built. Peacefully coexisting here over centuries, the divine religions have played invaluable, historic role in the establishment of brotherhood, friendship and harmony among people. No cases of ethnic or racial discrimination or religious intolerance have ever been observed in Azerbaijan.

Today, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan remains committed to its progressive traditions. The high degree of benevolence peculiar to our people, the atmosphere of ethnic and religious tolerance, mutual respect and confidence among ethnic minorities and religious communities, as well as the established socio-political stability and civil solidarity, have made our country internationally known as a good example of tolerance. As an integral part of our society, the Orthodox Christian community is closely involved in all spheres of socio-political life. I am confident that you will continue to perform worthily your civic duties in the name of progress and development of our country. Christmas, which is solemnly celebrated annually in Azerbaijan, is a holiday of renewal, peace, compassion and mercy. This blessed holiday bring happiness into your families, and welfare into your lives. Happy Christmas!” the congratulations say. /APA/

Mary Christmas, Ethiopians!

Here is a truly beautiful documentography page on Ethiopian Orthodox believers celebrating Christmas. Just lovely pictures.

Alexy II Extends Christmas Greeetings

Interfax reports:

Moscow, January 7, Interfax - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II extended Christmas greetings to all Orthodox Christians in a televised address on Sunday.

"Let us remember that the success of efforts to make the world surrounding us better does not depend on social cataclysms and upheavals. Rather, it depends on our spiritual health and emotional attitude, as well as on those good, though small, deeds we are able and must accomplish in the name of the great love of God," he said.

"Help your neighbor, wipe away tears from the eyes of those in grief, feed the hungry, comfort those in despair, and give the warmth of your soul to all people surrounding you. And your virtues will be accepted by God," the patriarch said.

What counts most today is the need to strengthen the institution of family, "which has always been the foundation of any country and a guarantee of its prosperity today and in the future," Alexy II said.

"That is why it is important to safeguard our family traditions and to nurture a caring attitude toward marriage, family and motherhood," the patriarch said, extending his best wishes to all people celebrating Christmas on January 7.

BBC Pictures of Julian Xmas

The BBC has some very nice pictures of Orthodox Christians celebrating the Feast of the Nativity which you can view here.

Mary Christmas, Egyptians!

From Middle East Times:

CAIRO -- Thousands of Copts joined their pope Shenuda III at Saint Mark's Cathedral here overnight Saturday-Sunday to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sent a top government official to represent him at the midnight mass, which was attended by many young people. January 7, Orthodox Christmas Day, has been a nationwide holiday in Egypt for the past three years.

After the mass, the faithful were to break their 45-day fast during which they did not eat any food "with a soul," meaning coming from an animal. The traditional meal after the all-vegetarian diet is the "fatta," a mixture of meat, rice, and bread fried in butter with garlic sauce.

The Coptic Church, the largest Christian community in the East, has about five to six million members, according to official figures, and 10 million according to Church estimates.

The Egyptian government includes only two Copts: finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali and secretary of state for the environment Maged George Elias.

Mary Christmas, Ukrainians!

From Canada's Calgary Sun:

Christmas carollers and parishioners proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ could be heard last night on the streets of the city's northeast.

That's because Ukrainian Christmas was being celebrated by members of St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Today marks the sacred day of nativity, one of anticipation for those of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith, said Father Taras Krochak of St. Vladimir's.

"This is Christmas Eve for us," said Krochak, hours before his evening service at 404 Meridith Rd. N.E.

"It's a special time, because without his nativity, we have no salvation."

Parishioners will also gather this morning for a 9:30 a.m. service led by Krochak at the church.

"I'll tell them Merry Christmas," Krochak said.

"And we'll rejoice in the nativity of our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ."

Krochak said most who celebrate Ukrainian Christmas spent last night with family for the holy supper, which is a dozen meatless dishes in memory of the 12 apostles who dedicated their life to the service of Jesus.

"The meal is still a fasting one," said Krochak.

"But on the day of Ukrainian Christmas itself, it'll be a non-fasting meal."

Today, those of the faith will visit with friends and relatives in homes and continue to celebrate for 12 days until the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 19, which corresponds with the baptism of Christ, Krochak added.

Mary Christmas Georgia!

(No, not Jimmy Carter's Georgia, though he did write a lovely book about Christmas in Plains, Georgia.)

Associated Press
Sunday, January 7, 2007 (Tibilisi):

A colourful procession blocked central streets of Tbilisi on Sunday as Georgia's Christian Orthodox community celebrated Christmas.

Children and adults dressed in national costume marched through the streets holding church flags and singing the Christmas carol "Alilo," collecting gifts for charity on their way.

Onlookers bought sweets and other gifts to give to those who participated in the procession.
The gifts are traditionally distributed to orphanages.

The word "Alilo" in Georgian means "glory to God" and its tradition dates back to the fifth century.

Georgia is among other Christian Orthodox countries celebrating Christmas on January 7, and was one of the earliest countries to adopt Christianity in the 4th century.