Cumberland Times-News

December 23, 2013

Big deal

Who cares what Santa Claus looks like?

Cumberland Times-News

— Those of us who feel argumentative have no shortage of things to argue about — and there certainly is no lack of folks who are willing to take the opposing side and argue about them.

Obamacare, the Tea Party, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and his beliefs about gays — pick one and have at it.

There are so many things with substance to argue about that we really begin to wonder about people who want to debate about things like the color of Santa Claus’ skin.

Some folks say every depiction of Santa Claus they’ve seen is white, so he has to be white. Not so much.

We’ve seen African-American Santa Clauses, not just in photos, but in person.

And who says Santa Claus has to be a man ... or that there can be only one Santa? On the front page of our Dec. 22 edition, we carried a photo of former Army Sgt. Vickie Doolan-Fearon, who was badly injured while deployed in Iraq but refused to be evacuated for treatment because “I had a lot of soldiers I was responsible for.”

Germaine Broussard and Robert Fratkin recently paid her a pre-Christmas Eve visit, bringing her a $3,500 electric wheelchair on behalf of the nonprofit group Troop Treats. She also received a Battle Buddy stuffed bear.

This is the stuff that Santa Claus is made of.

And then there’s the Hispanic version of Santa, who was described in a recent Associated Press story as having black hair and a black beard, sometimes a mustache.

He’s called Pancho Claus, and you won’t find him in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, but on a “low-rider” automobile, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or being led by a pack of burros.

Pancho brings gifts to low-income and at-risk children in many Texas cities, where AP says, he “is an adored Christmas fixture.”

Santa Claus is whomever you want him ... or her ... to be.