Barring Santa

In celebration of the past year’s holiday season, Google created a set of three postcards, which ran on Christmas Eve (top), Christmas Day (middle), and Boxing Day (bottom).

A horse-drawn sleigh.
Traffic in a city, festooned with a Christmas tree and fairy lights.
A lone house, in a snow-draped landscape, with a star-lit sky as the backdrop.

They’re all pretty, no doubt. One gripe: No Santa Claus. No flying reindeer.

Google’s goal was to keep these illustrations as non-religious and anodyne as possible. Granted, inserting the scene of Nativity could’ve rubbed some people the wrong way.

But Kris Kringle and his entourage aren’t religious emblems. And for argument’s sake, even if he was, why must we, in the U.S. be obligated to put a secular spin on what’s decidedly a Christian festival? Other faiths don’t reciprocate.

On the other hand, Christmas is popular because of its warm, all-embracing nature. It’s a holiday placeholder into which other cultures can project their joys. It’s this universality that Google cashes in on.

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