- GARY MORTIMER and LOUISE GRIMMER
Much to the delight of children (and perhaps some adults), the arrival of Santa Claus in malls across Australia marks the start of Christmas shopping.
Santa Claus became a mainstay of shopping malls in December, driven by nostalgia and commerce.
PICTURE: __ drz __/ Unsplash
But who is this happy fat man, in a bright red suit, promising to make children’s wishes come true, and why can we always expect him to visit Australian malls in December?
A brief history of Santa Claus
Historian English Adam, linked the character of “Father Christmas” to Saint-Nicolas, 4th century Greek Bishop of Myra. The name of Santa Claus evolved from “Sinter Klaas”, a short form of Sint Nikolaas, in Dutch for Saint Nicholas.
“Retailers began to capitalize on the ‘invented tradition’ of Christmas in the early 1800s. The first commercial use of Santa, possibly the first, was on a flyer for a New York jewelry store in mid 1820s. “
The oldest known painting of Santa Claus is that of Robert weir (1837). Weir portrayed Santa Claus as an elf, wearing a red cape and boots, coming out of a fireplace.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast built in 1866 the modern version of Santa Claus we know today, a round gnome resembling a man, with a white beard, wearing a bright red suit.
The Santa Claus shopping center
Retailers have started to take advantage of the “invented traditionChristmas in the early 1800s. The first commercial use of Santa, perhaps the first, was on a flyer for a New York jewelry store in the mid 1820s.
Stephen Nissenbaum, in his book The battle for Christmas, suggested that this image of Santa Claus was reproduced in various printed forms, and then in 1841, an innovative merchant in Philadelphia created a life-size model of Santa Claus. It didn’t take long for the “living” Santa Claus to start appearing around street corners.
In 1891, the Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee started raising funds to provide a free Christmas dinner for the poorest. He took a crab trap from the local wharf, hung it on a tripod at a busy intersection, with the sign: “Fill the Jar for the Poor – Free Christmas Day Dinner. “
Soon unemployed men were employed to dress in Santa Claus costumes, with red kettles and bells ringing the streets of New York City to solicit donations.
Around the same time, some stores began to use “living” Santa Claus in their windows and toy shelves, and by 1910 the presence of a “living” Santa Claus became a requirement for everything. big store.
The Santa Claus Affair
Modern retail Christmas evolved from a set of practices in social and business contexts.
Desperate to attract shoppers, towards the end of November, Santa’s workshops, caves and winter wonderland miraculously began to appear in malls. Their appearance marks the start of Christmas shopping, extended exchanges and gifts.
the santa claus business, has become a viable business model, which creates positive experiences in shopping malls and jobs for most older retired men. An organism, Scene to believe, earns on hiring up to 500 Santas every year. Companies like Santa for rent , The real Santa Claus supplying Santa Claus impersonators to hundreds of shopping malls across Australia, New Zealand and North America. the Santa Claus Conservatory provide training to potential Santa “candidates”.
Nostalgia for Santa Claus
Nostalgia has always been a relevant emotion at Christmas. I remember my father taking me to John Martins Christmas Contest in Adelaide in the 1970s. I have friends who still drag their adult children to centers to “recreate” this moment in time. However, nostalgia has become a commodity, which can be bought and sold. Nostalgic marketing emerged in the 1970s and is used to connect consumers to their past.
Many adults would remember their childhood, visiting the famous Myer Melbourne Christmas Windows, which has entertained families for 66 years. Since 1933, Adelaide’s Christmas contest, the largest public parade in the southern hemisphere, drew more than 300,000 people to the CBD.
Therefore, Christmas-related consumer rituals, such as department store Christmas windows, pageants, and photos of Santa Claus, aim to persuade us to recall the past, to feel a sense of nostalgia, and to draw us in. in the tradition of Christmas shopping.
The future of Santa Claus
Faced with the prospect of continuing social distancing requirements related to COVID-19, the centre’s management may eventually need to consider virtual experiences.
Post-COVID Claus can be fully equipped with augmented reality experiences, virtual reality elf outfits and Instagram-friendly photo opportunities, a virtual reality “magic mirror” that allows visitors to become one of Santa’s elves and a “bad guy or good counter”.
Last Christmas, Centennial, which runs a nationwide portfolio of U.S. malls, replaced its traditional Santa Claus sets with interactive games augmented reality dating, and a new generation of video chat companies, like Talk to Santa and Welcome santa claus, give families the ability to connect with Santa Claus from the comfort of their own smart devices.
Gary Mortimer is Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior at Queensland University of Technology and Louise grimmer is a senior lecturer in retail marketing at the University of Tasmania. This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read it original article.