Holiday Mascots -Exposed!

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Caroline C., Editor

     Holiday mascots are a fun part of the holiday season. Santa, Rudolph, turkeys, and Jack-o-Lanterns can easily be matched with their holiday. But these four basic mascots might not be so closely related to the holiday season as you may think.

     Santa, the jolly fat man! Yes, we all know the man with the snow-white beard, beady eyes, and red suit. But the Santa you know was created by Coca Cola! Coca Cola didn’t create the Santa story, but they did create the Santa we know today. Before Coca Cola’s involvement, there were many different Santa interpretations -one including an elf Santa! But, in 1931, Haddon Sundblom was hired by the soda company to create an illustration for an advertisement. So, the Santa we know was created.

     Rudolph was also created for marketing! Robert L. May was assigned to write an animal Christmas story for a company known as Montgomery Ward. Despite obstacles like his wife’s illness, murmurs of war, and the aftermath of the Great Depression, May formulated the story of Rudolph. 

     When you think of a Thanksgiving dinner, a nice chonky turkey is probably in the center of your imagined feast. Thanksgiving’s origins begin when the pilgrims celebrated their colonization of the New World back in 1621. A feast of waterfowl, lobster, fruit, and squash was served -but no turkey! Turkey wasn’t as popular a food then, and it’s unlikely that it was served then. However, it is now one of the most basic parts of a Thanksgiving meal!

     Finally, the Jack-o-Lantern. The tradition of carving faces began in Ireland, but potatoes and turnips were used instead of pumpkins. The story of Stingy Jack is combined with this tradition; the story is about a man who repeatedly tricks the Devil. Because of his tricks and dealings with the Devil, Jack was left between heaven and heck as a wandering spirit. People began putting carved vegetables outside to ward away spirits like him. 

     These mascots, and many more, have unexpected backgrounds that may give you a new way of looking at the holiday represented.