Top 7 Not-So-Merry Christmas Controversies of all Time
You may not feel the same way about Christmas after reading these
There’s no smoke without fire, and the rumor mill is never ripe without the seeds of truth. Take a break from hanging your Christmas lights and hop on a not-so-jolly ride back to the history of Christmas – embrace the good, bad, and ugly of the world’s most loved (arguably) Holiday.
Christmas is supposed to be a holiday of love, light and *insert all gushy words seeping with positivity* right? Well, apparently not! The infamous Holiday has its share of juicy controversies over the short span of, well… 12 centuries. How much of these are true? Put on your detective glasses while we break down the most notorious rumors about Christmas.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
If misconstrued history is the original gangster of controversies, the modern entertainment/media is keeping up… it’s a close call really! Let’s begin with a relatively new rumor surrounding Christmas – Rudolph, the red-nosed Reindeer stirred the controversy pot pretty fiercely and ended up being deemed as “seriously problematic”. In an article in the Huffington post, the classic movie was ridiculed for the bullying and traumatic experience the main reindeer suffered in the hands of Santa and other reindeers. This ridiculing is pretty ridiculous if you ask me!
The controversy however did not do much harm to the popularity of the movie among the masses, with 83% of the participants voting it as favorable in a recent survey.
When you think of Christmas, you also picture Santa as a reflex. But there are numerous other characters associated with Christmas in different cultures – one of which is considered highly offensive, and rightfully so! Black Pete is one such character who accompanies Santa Claus throughout the Christmas Holidays in the Netherlands. He is quite stereotypically represented with a black face and curly hair. Some people are of the opinion that this character has offensive racial undertones and is based on a negative stereotype of the Black community, dating back to colonialism. We’ll leave the details of negative connotations out, as you can imagine what it could be if it's during colonialism.
Polar Bear Cookies
If a controversy list leaves out Starbucks, is it even a controversy list? We’re all aware of the intentionally unintentional cups that created quite some havoc (and publicity) in the past. But that’s not the only controversy Starbucks is guilty of. Coincidence much?
In 2015, the coffee giant released cookies in the shape of a polar bear wearing a cute red scarf. However, some tea-lovers (the coffee lovers don’t care) mistook the red scarf for blood… and well you can see how that can be horrifying when polar bears are one among the vulnerable species with decreasing population. Do you think the backlash to the cookies was unwarranted?
The clothing brand Total totally got it wrong with its Christmas sweater rendition. It found itself in hot water when some genius in their marketing team thought of Obsessive Christmas Disorder (OCD) Sweater. Agitated shoppers pointed out that the sweater made fun of the mental illness and quoted “garment trivializes those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.” The backlash piled up pretty soon when mental health advocates from all over sided with the statement. The spokesman Josh Thomas had to issue a statement to the public,” We never want to disappoint any of our guests and apologize for any discomfort.”
Naked Man Nativity
It’s unlikely that anything could stir up trouble in the Vatican’s Christmas nativity celebration. In 2017, the Vatican presented a major nativity scene adorned with life-sized figures and even a 92-foot spruce tree. It was indeed quite a sight to behold, except for the odd nakedness going on. Despite some of their best efforts, people could not take their eyes off of the naked man who was beefy and ripped standing out in the mix. The scene, as a whole, depicts the seven corporal works of mercy – buying a dead man, visiting a prisoner, and a naked man being clothed… which was on the theme but critics were of the opinion that the nakedness showed the nativity of Jesus in bad light unnecessarily.
This one honestly invited trouble! A zombie nativity scene found itself in the eye of a gossip tornado stirred by religious groups who thought the scene was absurd and highly offensive, not to mention distorted. What makes this whole controversy debatable is that it was on someone’s private property, and the owners were fined and forced to take down the nativity scene immediately. The owners indeed were some twisted people. They completed the biblical scene with undead Mary, Joseph, wise men, and baby Jesus in a manger. The choice of music was a haunting version of “Silent Night” paired with rainbow lights that’s another twisted paradox to one another.
In 2021, one would think we’ve left racism in the past… you’re mistaken, mister! Racism is deeply rooted in our society and shows no signs of retraction anytime soon, and this is a classic example of this infuriating reality. Retired Army Captain Larry Jefferson was asked to be Santa at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Kids loved them and parents were happy with the performance as well. But with growing popularity, the respectful veteran also had to face backlash for trying to put a smile on everyone’s face – just because he was black and a black Santa is unconventional. Guess who’s on the naughty list this year…in fact every year?
No matter the controversy and rough past, Christmas will always remain a pleasant reminder of love and togetherness for me! But isn’t it great to be in the know of both sides of a coin?
Which one of these controversies do you think are really outrageous and which ones are blown out of proportion? Do we really have to pay a penny for your thoughts? Hurry up and leave your thoughts in the comments below.