Sunday, November 25, 2007
A school is forcing Santa Claus to wear a green suit this year – in case his traditional red costume reminds children of Coca-Cola adverts.
It claims Santa's image has become too commercial and want pupils to learn about his origins instead of sitting on his lap and asking for the latest toy.
The school's 200 pupils, aged from three to 16, will instead be greeted by a green-suited, slipper-wearing Father Christmas at its festive bazaar.
Sarah James, spokeswoman for the Steiner School in Brighton, said: 'The red-suited Santa was created as a marketing tool by Coca-Cola, it is a symbol of commercialism.
'We are not trying to be a spoilsport or anything like that. The children are bound to come across Santa Claus plenty of times in the run-up to Christmas and we're happy for them to. We just want the bazaar to give them a different experience.'
But some parents are happy for their children to meet the 'commercial' Santa. Mother-of-two Cheryl Williams, 24, said: 'What a load of nonsense. What are they going to ban next, snow? Once again the PC brigade has clamped down on everyone's fun.'
Early images of Father Christmas show him in a variety of coloured outfits. One early incarnation, dating from 1809, sees him in green. But, contrary to legend, red and white became his familiar dress long before Coca-Cola used the image in an advert. A familiar version of Father Christmas was used on the cover of Harper's Weekly in 1863 but Coca Cola did not use his image until 1931.