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Ad Campaign
Jesus at the Mall

This ad provokes discussion on whether Christmas should be about Jesus, Santa Claus, or can it be about both? The ad is not meant to suggest an answer, as much as to invite you to share your thoughts on the issue.


philosopher's picture



Truly is Cristmas still about Jesus. I have found through personal experience that Christmas is more a time for freiends and family and for giving gifts having fun and enjoying good times. If it was Jesus that small children asked for presents at the mall I personally would not take my children as Christmas has becaome a holiday that all religions can celebrate not just Christians, if you asked Jesus for presents wouldn''t that exclude other religions?

MartyrForLove's picture



Not that I think Jesus would have supported the commercialism surrounding Christmas, but I do think that if he decided to turn the other cheek and give out presents he would be open to all who came. I don''t recall Jesus asking children whether they believed in him before he blessed them. I think there was a reason for that.

adam's picture



There are really 2 Christmases now: one has been claimed by the secular world and one is the Christian celebration. And as a christian, I am ok with that. There is a lot of good that comes out of ''xmas'' - intentional time with family, the ''spirit'' of the season etc. There is a definite change in people during this time - people generally give more during this period than any other. And there is a fight against the commercialization that applies far more to xmas than it does christmas. People want this time to be special and that doesn''t necessarily mean being about Christ. So fine. But there is also the christian Christmas which we need to hold to and celebrate. But we don''t need to try to turn it into something it is not. It is not xmas, it is Christmas, and both can exist together, and both serve important purposes. The fact that we still get to attach "christmas" to the season is a pretty good thing - I think it won''t be long before that really gets pushed aside entirely. And no, this isn''t a new thing. We have been singing "white christmas", "jingle bells" and "frosty the snowman" for a long long time now.

Violincelli's picture



The Right Reverend David Giuliano,
I am reminded, when re-viewing the recent ad campaigns, of having met the late and first lay moderator Dr. Robert Baird McClure, and, in our discussions he reminded me often that, "A path not walked on grows over with grass." Congratulations to The United Church of Canada in capturing a scene with a few deft words or stabbing you through the heart with an unpredictable but surprisingly apt word(s) choice. [Apt] time these ads cut through the submerged layers of conquest, colonialism, diaspora, violence, and madness to create supremely gutsy ad campaigns.

In the absence of shadows will our voices be heard in this poetry of conscience, or, like the victims we just disappear feeling good about forgetting?

Michael Evans-Smith
(former resident of Terrace Bay, Ontario).

freespeech's picture



I love this ad. Too many children don''t even know the real meanikng of Xmas anymore - It''s way out of control - buying gifts when God and family are the season!

With all the different cultures/religions - perhaps we should be learning about all the special occasions fof the different religions out there?

FoolishKnight's picture



I'm younger than a lot of you so I'll make this simple and to the point. Jesus in a mall sitting where Santa is........ Christmas is the day of Christ's birth, but that gets pushed out of the way with modern idea that Santa brings presents to children all around the world. Having Jesus sitting where Santa does in the mall may just screw kids up even more, soon we may have kids asking "Mommy, when is Jesus coming with my presents."

LoveGod's picture



I am a minister and yes it is about Jesus however why can"t children be children,we should never force our beliefs on to our children,they are young and will eventually figure out who is right and who is wrong,To many religious people try to force this apon them,if the young children want to see santa clause then let them,how dare anybody tell them they can"t,this irritates me to know end.I see how they are so happy to see santa and then these religious people say oh no thats not right and way to many children who are young don't understand why they cant see santa while the rest of their friends can.There is a time and a place for religious beliefs but forcing kids not to go see santa is not the time or the place for this.Let the kids be kids and stop trying to live through your children,your their parents so let them be happy for that one day let them see santa and then when the time is right and they are older let them decide who is right and who is wrong.

samantha81's picture



The ad at first sight insults me, but that's only because being 60, I have had many Christmases and I have never forgotten the fact that as a Christian, Christmas signifies the birth of Christ. I remember thinking that as a child growing up and as an adult now. I also remember though that Christmas was a time for family to be together and share in all of the good things the season brings, including gift giving, food and yes, love of family. Santa can be the deliverer of gifts to children, but only the Lord can bring us the gift of love. I believe as a Christian and a Canadian that the Christmas that I once knew is being eroded, not by commercialism, because I have been able to see beyond that, but by political correctness and the agenda of multiculturalism. We need to bring Christmas back into the season again i.e. Christmas pageants, Christmas tree and yes, merry Christmas.

Excavator's picture



Of course Christmas can be about both. Let's try to remember that the Biblical stories (only Matthew and Luke and not Mark or John - they have no birth narratives) pertaining to Jesus' birth are myths! Which doesn't mean that 'myth' doesn't have an element of some truth. This is slippery. Yes, yes, everyone has a birth story, including Jesus - however, December 25th is a date chosen by the early church to "Sell Jesus" into Roman society - it overlayed the roman festival of Mithra's and so when I see sign's like "Let's put Christ back into Christmas" - I yell aloudly ... He was never there to begin with!!! Let's make it what we choose ... if that includes some feel good notion about Jesus' birth - he had to have been born at some point but historically it just wasn't December 25th - fine go ahead, but remember we only got "Christmas" because the early Church needed to "sell Jesus". Let's stop selling him and make the holiday what we each choose.

Outcast's picture



Christmas is a great time of year, but I don't think Jesus was ever involved. He was not born in December and the Christmas celebration is a man made event, and has no basis in the bible. Take Jesus out of Christmas, just leave his message there, as I doubt that he would approve of our method of celebrating Christmas by lavishing gifts that most don't need nor can afford to give. Bet he never attended a Christmas office party either.

Learner's picture



Great Add and although many will dislike it, it will provoke discussion and that is the point. Many children have no idea what Christmas is and even though it does not mean a virgin birth , etc etc etc...the meaning is still being lost. Now the United Church has to find a way to educate the masses about the real meaning and take the fairy tale away.

fruitfulsex's picture



It is amazing that CHRISTmas has been changed to x-mas. Who removed Christ from the I wish to see Jesus at the mall instead of a Santa for a change...and about time!

asdfdocomo's picture



This is maybe the best ad of the sextet.
It's the kind of thing we harp on a lot, "Put the Christ back in Christmas!" but it's done in a light and effective manner.

That the beard looked fake bothered me initially, ("Is that a mistake?") And then I realised that of course it would be a fake looking beard, and that made it work even better. Hahaha.

Effective ad. Good work.

But you've got to ask youself, is Christmas really about Christ? You don't read about it anywhere in the Bible. Jesus doesn't teach it. It doesn't really correspond with anything Jewish, so no prophet input on it in the Old Testament either.

What was it again, a festival to a Roman sun god that it replaced? That works well in English... sun god replaced by the Son of God. But I digress. Most of our Christmas traditions have been absorbed from paganism. Like Christmas tress coming from paganism in Germany. Or Santa. Though St. Nicholas was a real man, the myth he has been absorbed into as Santa Claus is constructed from mythologies. Not that I'm claiming anyone did it intentionally. Syncretism (is that the right word?) can happen by accident.

And I'm all for putting as much Christ in Christmas as we can. But I am of the mind that it's not as much a restorative action as some seem to think. But Christ Mass at least by name points to Jesus.

It would be fun to try setting up a "come sit on Jesus' lap" thing at a few malls, but what would kids ask? Jesus isn't a slot machine like Santa. You need to ask God things in line with his will, and believe in faith that you will recieve them. (Instead of asking for lists of things that you covet.)

tiebos's picture



I think the fact that indeed Jesus was not born on Christmas Day does negate the argument of Jesus vs. Santa.

As a past lover and hater of the holiday, I've learned that Christmas Day should never be shoved down our throats as "just one thing" with its meaning given to us by perhaps well-intentioned and not so well-intentioned people. This particular ad might suggest that a nativity scene might be a little more important a story to share than Frosty the Snowman but that is because of its origin.

I've learned that Christmas should be the time of year where we make it what it needs to be for us - as Christians, or Muslims, or orphans or grandparents.
If Christmas is the one day of the year a single mother can afford to buy her child gifts and in her heart, she wants to make it memorable because her religion is simply love, then I have no issue with it being a shopping holiday. If she chooses to thank God for the blessings God has provided her on that day and the blessing of her child, is the holiday still about commercialism?

The holiday is best spent making it special in a way that suits the individual. Invariably with Christians, that will include thanks to God and respect for the birth of Jesus Christ. In that regard, Jesus certainly wouldn't exclude Santa from the party. Would he?

sunshinedf's picture



The ad is pretty depictive of where many people are - torn between the Christmas story and the hard sell of commercialism. Too bad the guy doesn't look more like from the Middle East.

mrjim23777's picture



I look forward to Christmas every year. I was also attending Church at the time twice a week and each year at around Christmas time we were always taught that the true reason behind Christmas was because it was the Birth of Christ. We were never taught to not believe in Santa Clause. I think that the whole point behind the big guy in red is because they also teach a lesson based on the three wise men, coming bering gifts, it teaches right from wrong as well.

I was also taught that its better to give than to recieve something that Christ taught his followers anyways. In grade school we were taught religion and this goes for the same when it comes to easter, There's the Easter Bunny at some malls, but yet somehow the message gets out that this was the time that Christ was crucified, and the time that Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. It's still a time of celebration, a time of observance, and a time for people to come together and be happy for those times that we're not during the rest of the year.

Now if this doesn't make any sense to people about what I'm talking about, then thats fine, everyone has their different beliefs and everyone is entitled to their opnion. I'm just making a point that Christmas isn't always about Santa Clause, because every year I see something either in the form of a message, or in some other type of form.

gkb's picture



to: fruitfulsex and others
yes, it's true that CHRISTmas has been changd to Xmas in some places, but in the original Greek language of the Second testament the name for Christ is spelled with an X - therefore Xmas in fact is replacing CHRISTmas in one way ... not that many people realize it though!

to: all else
I agree that Christmas has become quite commercial. I think that there are times when voices need to be heard to remind people that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. At the same time, as Christians, we need to hear the voices of all others also expressing their beliefs at the same time of year. The institutions have for so long been CHRISTIAN that they instituted their own beliefs to the rest of the world.

As we move out of Christendom (into a post-modern or a post-post modern?? I don't really know) world, that whole belief system is changing and it's up to us to continue to keep that alive!

Blessings as we prepare once again for this X-mas (yes, I mean Christmas) season!

oui's picture



The true root of the question here is why does the Christian church encourage the celebration of Christmas at all when it is so clearly non-Biblical in origin? If the churches withdrew their support of the holiday, the issue would disappear. If you kill the root, the branches disappear. Aren't Christians entiltled to hear the truth from their ministers? The path chosen for us by Church leaders has in fact created this mass confusion around the holiday. Let's make it purely secular, a Winter Solstice celebratiion as it was always meant to be, and leave Christ out of it where He was always meant to be.


johnfinlay's picture



What a disappointing picture.
The content of thew ad is fine in itself.
The thrust of the Emerging Spirit campaign is to engage people who have "wandered away". Thus we attempt to re-engage such folk with an image of Jesus as a fair-skinned, relatively fair-haired person. How can thinking people be stimulated in this day and age with a portrayal which harkens back to the '40s or '50s (maybe even 1840 or 1740)?
If, as my readings seem to indicate, Jesus was a middle-eastern Jew, why do we continue to see him portrayed as an Aryan, and one with a really bad, fake beard to boot?

Louise's picture



The discussions I have read are all very interesting. I approach the ad from the perspective of parenting my children. It was decided long ago that December 25 was to be the day to celebrate Christ's birth. I don't feel we need to quibble about this.The information has all been provided by the scholars.
In the mean time, I have my own children who are growing within this society. Our family is involved with our local congregation. The children put on pageants and assisst in lighting the advent candles in the Sanctuary.
I dreaded the question which would eventually come from my children about why we have Jesus and Santa.
When the day arrived, I was still unprepared. I had no idea what to say. The Lord does work through us, as I opened my mouth to respond I explained to my children that Christmas is to celebrate Christ's birth. But that Jesus, being Jesus, did not wish to receive presents on his birthday, instead insisting on giving everyone else gifts. To accomplish this feat, He employed Santa Claus to carry out this endeavor. My children have also observed that the Santas at the malls don't all look the same, therefore not the same guy. Explained again that mall Santas are helpers to the real Santa because he is sooo busy completing Jesus' task. I would really like my children to embrace the love and goodwill which is prevelent during the Christmas season and carry that with them each day as the journey with their Christian Lives.

Seasons Greetings to all!!!

rabidEarthworm's picture



The ad brilliantly states a key conflict of Christmas.
In an earlier post, LoveGod said, about not letting kids see Santa: "let them be happy for that one day let them see santa and then when the time is right and they are older let them decide who is right and who is wrong."
Our kid never believed Santa brought gifts. But he still had fun with Santa as a fictional character, just like Peter Pan, Spiderman, etc.
We kept an honest relationship with him because we didn't have to lie to him, and he didn't feel the disappointment of finding out Santa isn't real.
Small children have trouble distinguishing reality and fiction. Adults don't need to cloud the issue by lying to them. If you lie about Santa, a kid has to wonder, "Who else isn't real? Maybe that Jesus guy, too?"
Our kid felt very grown-up because he knew the adult secret about Santa. And he still had lots of fun at Christmas.
If a kid doesn't have to invoke Santa's favor at Christmas, it's eaier to focus on the real person whom the holiday is really about.
Of course with no Santa, parents then can't use him as a threat of punishing kids and withholding goodies (which is how he often was characterized until the relatively recent "jolly Santa" emphasis took over in the 1800s).

guruj1's picture



Good for the United Church to do something to grap people's attention. The idea of this ad is good, however, Jesus looks much too "western." He was indeed Jewish with mid-eastern bone structure and possibly darker and weather worn skin. But the discussion the ad generates is wonderful. I try to engage people in discussions about their faith and things often fall flat because many people havn't really analysed what they feel about God, Jesus, or anything.
We need to provoke people to thinkling about these things. Once again, good for the UCC

Jeffery's picture



This ad is compelling. I like the idea of Jesus on a "throne" waiting to hear the requests of children (and adults too, hopefully). However, I can't see i actually happening and I would likely be bothered if a mall replaced there Santa with a dress up Jesus.

As for the commercial Christmas that Santa represents, I view it as a produced of the inane disputes that where part of inter-denominational relationships in the 19th and 20th Century. In one corner, we had Catholics with their full use of statues, sacred hearts and halos. In the other corner, we had iconoclastic protestants. In the middle, we had other groups that were willing to allow a varying degrees of representations of Christ. I grew up in a church where Christmas creches were, at best, distastful and, at worst, pagan. It is not surprizing that North Americans looked to another figure, Santa, to be a non-controversial representative of Christmas.

But good can come from all folly. I like the fact that there are "2 Christmases". I can put up a "Holiday tree" and enjoy the "festive season" with my neighbours: various types of Christians, antheists, agnostics, Jewish people and Hindus (all on one cul-de-sac). Plus, I can put out my creche, advent wreath and go to Church throughtout Advent and on Christmas eve and be reminded of the hope in troubled times that God has put into the world.

The dualism of Christmas is something that should be encouraged and celebrated.

apologia's picture



what is this ad really saying? Would you bring your child to a materialistic, commercial holiday run by Jesus?

Athiestfriend's picture



I would never have heard about this website unless I read about this campaign in the Globe and Mail. It is a great campaign.. congratulations! Will it bring people to the church? Remains to be seen. While I appreciate much of the work of the United Church, and its openness to new ideas, there's still the fundamental problem of adherence to myth and dogma.

susanjnichols's picture



Congratulations on your bravery in posting this ad. It's about time we had some down to earth conversation about Christ and Christmas. The real question is why do so many of us only talk about Christ at Christmas and Easter. Jesus was concieved by God and Jesus died for our sins . The question of the exact timing is irrelevent. Did I tell my kids about Santa? Absolutely! There is real joy in childrens' faces when they think about Christmas and Santa. There is no need to ruin that for them. The time will come when they know the truth. The more important thing is that they have a relationship with Christ and God through daily prayer, study and reflection. If this ad gets people to talk about Christ and witness to others then I say I want to see a dozen more ads like this. I think Jesus would like to see a modern version of the little children 'comming unto him' the Italian painters have a copy- right on the older versions!

Saudade81's picture



I LOVE THIS AD: Why... because Christmas is about Jesus. Santa is fun too... because he was a Charitable saint and is "Saint Day" falls several days before. Unfortunately money reign most in this holiday. I for one, no longer buy gifts unless I can truly afford it.

Nobody can break the trend if we keep showing our kids thatXmas is all about receiving... and money,

oui's picture



trekker says its "all about Jesus for me". In reality you are conciously practicing, supporting, and participating in an ancient non-Christian spiritual ritual. In reality its all about "tradition" for you. If you want to fool yourself, go right ahead, but you can't fool Christ.

In the New Testament Jesus did not celebrate His birthday, neither did the Apostles or early Christians. It was chosen by men 300 long years AFTER Christ.

At some point we have to ask ourselves are the traditions of men more important or better than the practices of Christ and the Apostles?

Is supporting a pagan festival something Christ would want us to do especially when it is so completely unrelated to Him?

Is it not arrogant to choose to celebrate this regardless of Christ's directives?

What gives us the right?

If people want to celebrate the holiday, why not simply call it what it really is (Winter Solstice festival) instead of misleading them into thinking Christ had anything at all to do with it?

Why is it so difficult to accept/practice the truth?

nestingtree's picture



To those protesting the inaccurate portrayal of Jesus as fair Aryan: Its a visual ADVERTISEMENT! Without a prototypical Jesus (however inaccurate), viewers would say "Ion't get it, who is that guy?"

To those protesting that Christmas isn't really Jesus' birthday and it has no biblical basis: Christmas did, and can still, provide a symbolic, meaningful tradition for Christians. That needn't destroy the commercialized Santa version adopted by people of all faiths- both realities of Christmas can and should co-exist.

aliveinlight's picture



Think this is an awesome visualization but not convinced that our children need to be offered such images. I'm pretty sure jesus would have endorsed the spirit of santa although not the commercialism. Kids in exploitation is not a good feeling.

nala454's picture



I've been asking myself for months/years why the moderate churches aren't being vocal and by default allowing the out-spoken/mis-spoken fundamentalist churches to be our voice. Thank you for coming out and being heard with this campaign.

Jay's picture



The spirit of Christmas (not Xmas) has, and always will be, about the birth of Jesus. Any churchgoer knows this to be true as we celebrate this defining event of 2000 + years ago each and every year. Even those who are not regularly acquainted with a congregation know that the Reason for the season is our Saviour. We, the adults, tend to get joy at this time of year from gatherings with family and friends, and also from that extra sense of purpose that we experience as a part of our church. Our children, though learning about the life of Jesus each week, experience their joys with the mystical thought of Santa covering the globe in one night handing out gifts to everyone. It is with a childs innocence and lack of scepticism that he/she is able to believe in something he/she cannot see. As our children grow and become subjected to the endless banter of commercialization, maybe they will remember the joy they felt when they believed in someone they never did see. Can you imagine how much greater life could be if we all could believe in Jesus with the same awe and wonder. So, with respect to the add, Jesus and Santa can both exist. I just hope that the belief in one will carry over to the belief in the other as they get older.

Smaggles's picture



I think if Jesus were in the mall, we couldn't keep the children away from him. From all accounts kids were particularly drawn to Him and He made sure they were welcomed, felt important, and Jesus also had some pretty harsh words for anyone who might want to harm them. On the other hand, lot's of kids are afraid of the guy in the red suit :)

dalaimama's picture



The fact is that Christmas in North America has become a secular holiday celebrated by Christians and many non-Christians alike. While "Christ is the Reason for the Season" might be a cute sound bite, it's not the case for a lot of us. Just as a lot of the Christmas traditions (Christmas Trees, mistletoe, Yule logs) have been co-opted by Christians from Pagan celebrations, many non-Christians are finding their own way to celebrate free from religious undertones.

DGL's picture



I'm thinking that adults instead of children should be present in the picture. Then Jesus could have spent some time with each of them on his lap to explain that his purpose and the essence of his existence has in large measure over the past 2000 years been turned by fragile egoic humans into a magical fantasy. Much like that of the Santa Claus story told to children to bring hope and joy. Jesus was and is the truth and the light. A Divinely inspired and conscious human. Unfortunately the story was written by those having a different agenda. You know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

bigmike's picture



Jesus presented as a 'Lily White' WASP just as God made him.

Thank God for Santa Claus.

notorious's picture



I think that the ad may have made more of an impact if santa was sitting in his chair with the child on his lap and Jesus was standing behind him with his hand on Santa's shoulder. My children will always know that we celebrate Christmas day because that is the day that Jesus was born. But I can't seem to notice that during the christmas season people tend to be more caring, loving, forgiving and happier. Perhaps we are all striving to be more like he wants us to be, remembering him for the man he was and the unconditional love and acceptance that he had to anyone he came across.

Tony's picture



It upsets me greatly that the true meaning of Christmas has been diminished by Santa Claus.. I don't think there is room for both Jesus & Santa. As Christians we need to focus on the birth of our Savior, Christ The Lord

anaaliciagr's picture



I was very happy to see this ad while reading a magazine about the holidays. My husband and I had just been talking about the commercialization of Christmas and how it seems hard to focus on the original (and true) meaning of it amidst all the advertising and shopping campaigns.

Although I appreciate the wonderful wishes and feelings that come with the season and involve everyone, I believe as Christians we should make an effort to remind others of the origin of them. Joy and hope and love for all because we have a Saviour.

I am all for universal good, but if we are certain that what we believe is true, shouldn't we share it with others?

I like to think of Santa as Jesus' helper too, as some others have written, and I think Christmas doesn't have to exclude him if we don't get carried away with material things and try to give more gifts from the heart, spending the season sharing and really discovering the joy of giving (ourselves).
Where I come from, a lot of chidren receive gifts from the Magi, which I think is a nice tradition too.

When I first came to Canada, I adopted the Happy Holidays greeting during this season, however this year it's only Merry Christmas for me!



trekker's picture



I was brought up to believe that Christmas was about Jesus, but that Santa was also real. When I found out that I'd been lied to, it really shook my faith in my parents. So I didn't lie to my kids about Santa. I told them that this is a game that people like to play at Christmas, and we could hang up stockings and leave out cookies for Santa, but we were just playing a game. Though December 25 isn't really Jesus' birthday (duh! all you lecturing people, like we didn't know that!), still I see it as a time to get centered spiritually. I love all the aspects of Christmas, even the pagan ones like the tree. But it will always be about Jesus for me. Going to church on Christmas Eve brings our whole extended family together. Even though some members go to more fundamentalist churches, we all go to the United Church on Christmas Eve. I have to say, I can't understand being a Christian and not going to church. I guess we all have our differences, but like beauty contestants everywhere, all we really want is world peace! God's blessings on you all.

storm_child's picture



Well personally I think that all this sensitivity around christmas is stupid. So many religions not just christians are celebrating at that time of year and they all have one thing in common as far as i can tell. Rejoycing in the return of light to the world. In the dead of winter at the darkest time of the year christmas(christians) yule (pagans) hannaka (jews) as well as an entire host of other religions celebrate there own return of light, guidance and hope for the coming year.
People are to sesitive, I agree that religiouse thoughts shouldnt be shoved into peoples faces (I was attacked by a born again and it was a very unpleasent experiance. I do mean attacked he had me cornered while telling me I would go to hell) but "Merry christmas!" is NOT shoving religion in someones face. Its the same as "Happy holidays" "Merry yuletide season".
Canada is a quilt made of so many different people with different beleifs and attitudes so yes we must be considerate of other people but we take it a touch to far. Christmas or whatever people want to call it is a celebration, time to enjoy family and friends and share what you have. I LOVE christmas with all my little Pagan heart. I love the food, the family and how everyone is smooshed into a kitchen at dinner time, and decorating the tree. The wonder you see in a childs eyes, its an incredable time of year for everyone. Or rather it can be, if people would just stop with the questioning on "is this politically correct?"

Brightest blessings~~S

MargaretJ's picture



This ad is going to evoke so many different emotions from people of all cultures and walks of life.
I saw it as more of a statement against the commercialism and greed that seems to rear its ugly head more than a month before Christmas arrives.

Jesus is love, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus served the poor, healed the sick, welcomed children on his knee. He wants us to love our neighbours. He wants to be our friend. Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men is not just words for Christians but for all of Mankind.

I know what would happen if Jesus really did come to the Mall.......
The line up would pour all the way out into the parking lot.
And there would be such a feeling of calm and stillness in the air and it wouldn't be just kids... adults too. Everyone would be so touched by his spirit that they would be forever changed in their hearts. It's a beautiful scene if you just close your eyes and imagine it.

Oh yes, and Santa will be there too. I love the image of Santa standing behind Jesus with his hand on his shoulder.

Thank you everyone
Margaret J

Kenn Chaplin's picture

Kenn Chaplin


I think this is a great ad!

We celebrate birthdays with gifts and Santa, aka Saint Nick, commemorates the birthday of Jesus by giving away gifts. This ad jars us back to reality and reminds us of whose birthday we honour and, with a poke to our conscience, suggests that it ought to be a time of giving, not getting.

The ad is effective because it holds a mirror up to the commercial secularism of the season. Jesus, in this picture, does not look like he's being a party-pooper.

LadyOnFire's picture



Great Ad! Nice work, Wondercafe!

I started a Friday Fun Night at our church. And December's is carolling.

This, I thought (HA!) would be simple.

Go door to door, sing carolls, spread joy.

Well, I'm putting together the carolls and I am hesitating to put in anything that isn't a hymn. Do I include Santa Claus is coming to town? Frosty the snowman?

I was scratching my head about this when I remembered that Santa Clause aka Father Christmas, Saint Nickolas, is Santa Claus BECAUSE he was Christian- reminding us of the GIFT OF JESUS.

Everything depends on how you look at something. Some people look at sky and see the clouds, others take in the patches of blue.

tomfor's picture



I am of the "older generation". I have always thought that Santa is a wonderful reminder - not of the Son but of the Father - the giver of the great gifts of life. For many in my generation this ad (and maybe even more some one or more of the others) is shocking but I think it's thought provoking. There are lots of people who viait Mall Santas with their children who are far less embarassed to tell the kids the Santa story than they are the Jesus' birth story. The ad won't change that but maybe it will help them (and all of us) to think about the true meaning of Christmas - and perhaps of what part of that Santa is a reminder.

damycrai's picture



At first glance, I really liked this ad.
Then I remembered the first picture I had seen of Jesus and the children. As I learned the children's song, "brown and yellow, black and white - they are precious in his sight," I coloured the children's faces in the picture accordingly.
Much later I realized that Jesus was a Jew and that meant I had to change his face and even his body image to really have a picture of the early Jesus and the children.
So, this picture needs a few changes.
And we have to be careful in the telling of the story to explain that it was a myth drawn from many ancient sources to give some glory to the birth of the Christ.
Where would we set up such a scene? Perhaps the near the doorway of our church would be appropriate - or maybe the mall is OK??

oui's picture



Several posters have commented on the need to return to the "true meaning and origiin" of Christmas. However, the true meaning and origin has nothing to do with Christ! It is a date that was chosen by men about 300 years after Christ. It coincides with the Winter Solstice, a Sun god festival date anciently established long before Christ. This is the day when the daylight hours are the shortest, the Sun god arrives conquering the darkness, the people celebrate, the daylight hours begin to increase. Christ did not celebrate his birthday, neither did the Apostles or early Christians, the Bible makes no mention of any date. All the trappings of Christmas are pagan in origin. You can find all this in any encyclopedia, or the Bible itself. If you believe otherwise, you are fooling only yourself.

Why do the Churches continue to support this hypocrisy? Perhaps it fills their coffers.

Are the traditions of men more important or better than the practices of Christ and the Apostles?
Get busy and find out EXACTLY what and why you are celebrating, be aware. Church leaders haven't told us, so it is up to the individual to research. This is the age of readily available information. Aren't your personal beliefs worth it? Many other decisions about your beliefs were made for you by men 300 long years after Christ.

Will the United Church of Canada be truthful and take a stand on the issue and stop supporting Christmas?

mammas's picture



the first thing that got me about this ad was that Jesus looked straight into my eyes... the second was that the little boy is happy with his gift... what a wonderful world when a symbol can say so much...

pajo's picture



How can you not believe in Santa Claus? Because of Santa Claus millions of children have faith, hope and get gifts every year. Santa Claus represents the spirit of giving that Christ intended in the first place.

lizzy's picture



As soon as I saw this ad in my decorating magazine, I had to register and post a reply. I think there is a place for both the sacred and secular aspects of Christmas. My children visited Santa, left out cookies, wrote letters to him and so on. They also participate in White Gift Sunday, put together Samaritan's Purse Gift boxes every year, enjoying the thought that they are making someone less fortunate very happy at this time of year, and minister to our congregation and the community by performing music and drama in Christmas concerts. I don't find it difficult to reconcile the two ideas...out of the myth of a loving Father Christmas who brings children gifts, we make or buy gifts for the special people in our lives; Jesus was the greatest gift of all sent to us as a result of God's love for all of us. As a parent, I make every effort to reinforce their understanding of the latter, while keeping alive the magic of the season, which as someone mentioned, seems to find people more loving, happy, sharing,etc.

I am a member of the United Church in Ontario and a public elementary school teacher and struggle with this issue of balance every year. In Ontario, where there is a multitude of ethnicities and religions, this is a touchy subject. I've found that the best way to not ruffle any feathers is to do a bit of both, the secular and sacred, with a global theme. Maybe I'm getting off track here, but my point is, if Santa (at the mall or otherwise) can be a thread running through a season of giving, sharing, love, peace, joy, regardless of a person's fundamental beliefs, what's wrong with that?