Some folks apparently think ole St. Nick needs a makeover for the #MeToo era.
The logo design company Graphic Springs recently surveyed 400 people in the UK and US through Google to solicit suggestions on how to “rebrand” Santa for modern times, then offered the most popular options to more than 4,000 people across both countries.
The feedback was pretty interesting.
Nearly a third of those in the US suggested that Santa should change his gender to female or identify as “gender neutral,” though roughly 70 percent would prefer if he remained male.
The survey also asked whether Kris Kringle should get with the times and carry an iPhone, or if “he should be more ‘hipster,’” though the vast majority – 71 percent – rejected any change at all.
Just over 9 percent said Santa should get an iPhone, while 8 percent agreed he should wear sneakers. Less than 5 percent supported suggestions for Father Christmas to wear jewelry, grow dreadlocks, or wear glow in the dark fur. Less than 4 percent think he should “be more ‘hipster.’”
As far as Santa’s sleigh, just over 40 percent think he should trade it in for something better. A little over 16 percent believe Santa should use Amazon Prime, while just under 14 percent thought he should drive a flying car. Ten percent thought an electric car would be best, while others think he should travel by hyperloop, hoverboard, or limousine.
Other ideas – drink beer, look younger, have tattoos, go on a diet, get a new hairstyle, shave his beard – were not very popular at all, with more than 73 percent of Americans rejecting the proposals.
The most popular response in the US, with more than 18 percent support, was for Santa to go gender neutral. US respondents were 3 percent more likely to support a gender neutral Santa than folks in the UK.
The survey begs the question: What does a gender-neutral Santa even look like?
A shopping center in New Zealand offers one interpretation.
Modeled after Marry Poppins, the giant “gender fluid” Santa towering over the Ponsoby Central complex in Auckland wears a wispy hat, long red coat and carries a Poppins-inspired umbrella. He’s not wearing any pants, instead donning only nickers with a pair of fishnets tucked into his classic black boots – his jolly belly on display for all to see.
Gender fluid Santa’s creators told Newshub “The display is a nod to the film Mary Poppins Returns, due to be released in December” and defended the decision to make his gender ambiguous.
“Our representation of Santa can be Mary Poppins or whatever race/gender/persuasion we prefer and can image,” a spokesperson said, according to PinkNews. “Coca-Cola company doesn’t have a monopoly on what he/she looks like.”
The shopping center’s Facebook page describes the gender-fluid “Santa Poppins” as “a wee bit cheeky” and “the ultimate nanny (or should we say ‘manny’).”