The traditional depiction of Father Christmas as an old, white man with a bushy beard is no longer popular with young people in the United Kingdom, a new poll has found.

Around 60 per cent of the 18-24 year old in the UK said that it was “acceptable for Santa to be gay”, a survey by YouGov revealed. The YouGov survey examined the UK public’s attitude towards Santa Claus’ race, gender and sexuality.

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However, when it came to the overall population, 41 per cent of people across all age groups were opposed to the idea of a gay Santa Claus, with only 39 % saying it was acceptable . Even within the LGBTQI community, opinions were divided – around  17 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents said a gay Santa was not ok.

Gay Santa?

Britons over the age of 65 were the most opposed (58%) to the idea of a homosexual Father Christmas. Women (42 per cent) were more open to a gay Santa, than men (36 per cent).

The UK public was opposed to the idea of a female Santa, with 54 per cent against a Mother Christmas. And when it came to race, most Britons still think a White Santa was acceptable.

Black Santa?

Eight in ten (80%) said it is acceptable to depict Santa as being White, while less than half or 49 per cent said it was ok for Father Christmas to be another ethnicity – either Black, Middle Eastern, East Asian or South Asian. This stands in stark opposition to a YouGov survey in the US last year where 67 per cent were accepting of a Black Santa and 58-60% said they were were comfortable with an Asian or Middle-Eastern Claus.

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Saint Nicholas  was a 4th Century monk of Greek descent who lived in Turkey.  The modern depiction of a white-bearded man with spectacles owes its origins to Coca Cola advertisements from the 1930s.

YouGov’s head of data journalism Matthew Smith said that “opinion towards Father Christmas is not unique to the character himself, and may instead reflect a broader set of attitudes on making changes to firmly established pop culture figures.”

Recently, a Norwegian postal service ad’s depiction of a gay Santa had led to a backlash from Christian conservatives.

 

Posten Norge, for their 2021 Christmas advertisement campaign, had released a four minute love story titled ‘When Harry Met Santa’ which showed Father Christmas kissing another man.

The YouGov survey reveals attitudes are changing among the young who are not wedded to the idea of an old, white heterosexual man as Father Christmas. However, it may still be a while before we see a gay, Black trans woman as Santa Claus at the mall!

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