Over 25% of people want Santa Claus to be female or gender-neutral, poll finds
There's no doubt that Santa Clause is one of the most recognizable figures in the world. With his red coat and hat, long white beard, and portly physique, Old Saint Nick is known to millions of children around the world as the spirit of the holidays.
But could it be that Santa is actually outdated? Do we need to update Santa for the new decade? That's the question that many people are asking, and it's certainly divided opinion. Indeed, some people are even debating whether the character of Santa Claus/Father Christmas should be gender-neutral.
In the tail end of 2018, GraphicSprings, a logo company, took suggestions on how to change Santa from an open survey of 400 respondents from both the UK and US. A selection of these suggestions were then voted on by over 4000 people across the UK and US.
One question asked: "If you could 'rebrand' Santa for modern society, what gender would he be?"
They found that a whopping 27% of the 1015 people who answered believed that Santa should be rebranded as female or gender-neutral.
When the news of the survey's findings hit social media, a number of Twitter users were outraged by the suggestion that Santa should be changed.
For instance, one person tweeted: "I'm all for equality but the idea that we should make Santa gender neutral or female is ridiculous! You cannot change history - St Nicholas, the guy who started the whole stocking hanging thing was a man!!
This comes just a mom claimed to be shamed on a Facebook group for referring Santa by the gendered name: 'Father Christmas'. According to The Plymouth Herald, the unnamed woman stated that her detractors claimed she was being offensive to gender-neutral or non-binary people.
She told the publication: "I've just been shamed [on a Facebook group] for using the name 'Father Christmas' and [told] that 'Santa' is now seen as gender-neutral."
She added: "I was only referring to the book below ['Father Christmas' by Raymond Briggs] but it's left me a little confused/on edge about what we are aloud to say. I have a small child and don't really want to raise him saying 'Father Christmas' if it's hurtful to some. [sic]"
Check out this trailer for The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russel as St Nick:
However, the modern image of Santa stems from a real-life male historical figure. Namely Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek Bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. In one account, he gave three impoverished women generous dowries to help them escape a life of prostitution.