Q: What accounts for the fat guy's success as an enduring, worldwide symbol of the holiday? The quirky suit? The fawning elves? The antlered entourage? How often do unlikely figures catch fire and seize the popular imagination?
What makes Santa a success is not who he is, but what he stands for: joy and giving, peace on earth and good will to all. This completely fictional character personifies the Christmas tradition at its best: giving to others as a way of bringing joy.
His trademark is his laugh. He's always seen "Ho, ho, ho"-ing, while giving away gifts and making people smile. For hundreds of years, this jolly character has done his work of spreading smiles and warm feelings.
His message of giving and love is a unique once-a-year phenomenon. Santa raises the spirits of the young with hope for gifts and fun. For those of us who are older, Santa brings us fond memories of our childhoods -- when we went to bed, awaiting his bounty.
Are there any other fictional figures that quite reach Santa's score on the likability scale? Somehow I don't think so. Some might make a case for the Easter Bunny or Mickey Mouse. But in my mind, Santa, you have no real competition.
Happy holidays to all!
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