Laurel L. Russwurm

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

Ho! Ho! Ho!

with 3 comments

He’s traveled the world under many different names…

Hand Made Santa Claus Door Hanger

Father Christmas… aka Kris Kringle… aka Sinterklaas… and in Canada he’s called Santa Claus

His image is derived from Coca Cola advertising of the 1930′s.

But the strands of his persona have been drawn together from legends and myths from around the world. Santa Claus is essentially a derivative creation that could have been deemed Intellectual Property and locked down in copyright many years ago.

Had his image had been made copyright, I doubt my amazing mother-in-law would have crafted this wonderful door hanger ornament from a bleach bottle oh so many years ago. In fact, I suspect a copyright Santa would have already gone the way of the Sony betamax machine.

[a “what machine?” ask the younger readers....]

Ralphie tells Santa Claus his wish

Ralphie vs. Santa Claus

Favorite Holiday Film:

A Christmas Story

Classic line:

“You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Fortunately my family still has a working VHS VCR so we can continue to enjoy this wonderful movie.

Hopefully there will not be a day when DRM or anti-circumvention law will make it impossible for my family’s continued enjoyment of this classic Canadian film.

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3 Responses

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  1. Thanks Laurel,

    This was very informative.

    Kind regards,
    Pieter

    Pieter Colpaert

    December 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

  2. Dear Pieter:

    The very first time I heard of Sinterklaas was when I saw the 1947 version of the film Miracle on 34th Street on television when I was child. However my husband is from Groningen, so in our family we say “thank you Klaasie” for every gift.

    Of course Sinterklaas can afford to be the good guy all children love because he has Zwarte Piet to deal with the bad children (by stuffing them in his sack and taking them away).

    Our Santa Claus travels the world on Christmas eve, coming down chimneys and leaving gifts for all children in their Christmas stockings.

    Canada has brought a particularly weird twist to the Santa Claus story; during the cold war the NORAD network of missile spotting posts was arrayed across our northern reaches to warn us of a nuclear attack. I think it was in the 1970′s when I first heard about NORAD tracking the progress of Santa’s sleigh with Christmas Eve television “news updates”. Nowadays the NORAD Santa Tracker online tells children know how close Santa Claus is.

    Parents can encourage the little ones to go to bed because the legend is that Santa won’t visit their house if they are awake.

    Santa Claus is an amalgamation of all the different St. Nicolas variations brought to North America. Santa Claus may be wearing a costume designed and established by the Coca Cola artists, but that does not mean that the mythical character of Santa Claus belongs to Coca Cola.

    Because Santa Claus is an idea. He is the personification of giving for children. Certainly many people and organizations have attempted to co-opt him, but it is precisely because Santa Claus is in the public domain that so many songs and stories are written about him.

    No one owns Santa Claus. I think that’s a good thing.

    regards,
    laurel

    Laurel L. Russwurm

    December 26, 2009 at 2:42 am

  3. To be correct, Sinterklaas and Santa Claus in Belgium are 2 completely different people. Sinterklaas in Belgium is derived from Sint Niklaas and is a saint which day we celebrate the 6th of december.

    As the legend goes Saint Niklaas used to give presents to the pour children together with his helps: chimney sweeps. Nowadays his helps are called Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). They refer to the dirty chimney sweeps of that time.

    So please… Don’t call our Sinterklaas a capitalist bastard invented by Coca Cola, because he’s a beautiful legend which we keep alive.

    In some places, Sinterklaas is not celebrated, but there is Sintemaarten, but that again, is a different person which I don’t know that much about since I don’t celebrate him, and as a physicist I would have to observe Sintemaarten before I could date it.

    Thanks,
    Pieter

    Pieter Colpaert

    December 24, 2009 at 11:24 am


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