What It's About
On this auspicious day, we take a look at the man in red and his infamous business hustling presents from the North Pole!
Words of Wisdom
It’s okay to be an individual! Perhaps you don’t break into people’s homes and steal their food while leaving presents behind, but everyone’s got their quirks. You do you.
That ninth reindeer, for example, had a special feature—some might say he was differently-abled—and because of that, all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names, but on a night filled with fog and fright, this reindeer’s special feature managed to save the world.
When Father Christmas first began showing up in illustrations, he wore many different colored robes: Green, purple, blue, and brown, among others. Beginning in the late 1800s, it became popular to outfit Santa in a red suit.
Artist Louis Prang depicted him that way in a series of Christmas cards in 1885, and The New York Times reported on the red garments in 1927. But the modern image of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit was seared into American pop culture in 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom illustrated him that way for a widely-circulated campaign for Coca-Cola [cite].
Notes from Chris
Episode 359Today’s story comes from a jolly old man who lives for much of the year somewhere north of Finland… or maybe Alaska, depending on how you look at it. When he’s not working in his warehouse, he’s loved and feared by young people all over the world. Despite numerous allegations of breaking and entering, as well as wholesale theft of milk and cookies, he remains popular with a certain segment of the population that relies on him for patronage politics in the form of seasonal donations. But how did it all get started? This man had a Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, related to the Dutch version of Nicholas. But let’s call him Kris—it’s complicated. This man is a frequent traveler, esp. in the month of December when he racks up an incredible number of FF miles in a very brief window of time. With so many stops to make, how does he keep track of it all? He used to maintain two lists, one comprised of stops in which to deliver kindling to poorly mannered young adults, and the other with stops in which to throw down the bling with Playstations, extra copies of Call of Duty, feminist Barbies, and Coldstone Creamery gift cards. Also, let’s get real: this man really needs to diversify his income streams…. hundreds of years later he’s still only getting paid once a year, and only in cookies—a big problem, especially as he’s trying to stick to a ketogenic, gluten-free diet. Still, there’s one major, life-threatening challenge that looms over all else. The man has a credibility gap. Many people believe in his powers at a young age but then began to doubt as they get older. They lose heart. They pull at his beard. They even tell their younger siblings that he simply isn’t real. Part of what we’re hoping to do with this story is to tell you: friends, listeners: don’t stop believing (hold on to that feeling). One time long ago a miracle took place in midtown Manhattan in between 33rd and 35th streets … best illustrated by this classic quotation: “Yes, Virginia, there really is a weird guy with a beard who’s just giving out stuff. Don’t ask too many questions!” Sometimes good things come along in life and you just have to accept them. Do you believe?? SEE ALSO:
- Saint Nicholas to Santa—The Surprising Origins of Mr. Claus: Learn more about the man behind the beard with this in-depth exposé from National Geographic
- Letters-from-Santa Hustles Down Chimney: A month-long, part-time project writing personalized letters from Santa Claus earns $6,000.
- Weekly Recap: Starting and Ending a Seasonal Side Hustle: In our forty-ninth weekly recap, we'll highlight the lessons learned in this week. Also: more listener Q&A and updates from the road!
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To infinity and beyond,