There’s a battle on for the hearts and minds of the children of Austria.
Not Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. Not Playstation against the Xbox. No, it’s Santa Claus in a fight to the finish with the Christkind.
- See also: Christmas traditions in Vienna
Marketing versus tradition
The “bad” news for traditionalists is that the Christkind doesn’t lend itself to modern-day marketing and advertising requirements. It’s too tied up with religious meaning.
Enter Santa Claus or Father Christmas. Now there’s a nice, safe, non-religious Christmas brand.
Sensing their chance, companies across the land started using Santa Claus on their Christmas packaging and other marketing materials, boosted in part by the help of
Things first came to a head way back in 2004, with both sides firing salvoes at each other via the media in an intensive effort to settle the issue one way or another. These days, there’s an uneasy truce as marketers seem to have gone for more neutral imagery, like snowmen, reindeer, and similar.
Vienna’s largest Christmas market on the Rathausplatz came down firmly on the side of traditionalists: 2004 saw the election of the first “Wiener Christkindl” (Vienna Christ Child) and that established concept is still going strong in 2020: the market’s official Christkindl is usually a young woman dressed as an angel-like figure.
(Personally I think it’s the parents that bring the presents, but what do I know?)