The Search for an Indian Santa

Mangesh Hattikudur
iStock / iStock

One of my favorite scenes from John Green's wonderful novel Paper Towns is when the character Radar doesn't want to invite a girl over to his house because he's embarrassed by his parents. More specifically, he's embarrassed by their enormous collection of Black Santa figurines, with Black Santas crammed onto every windowsill and bookshelf in the house. Until I read the passage, I had no idea that there was such a tremendous market for Black Santas, although it makes complete sense. Why not imagine Santa sharing your skin tone?

In any case, this morning I woke up wondering if there were any Indian Santa Claus figurines available (the country does have a sizable Christian population). While I couldn't find a Kerala Claus, I did find the Christmas Treasures International World of Santa collection here, though it left me a little perplexed. I guess they're supposed to be a nod to various cultures, but I find the fact that Mexico's "Fiesta Santa" is wandering around like a Miriachi musician (they also make one where he's eating Tamales), and Irish Santa is dressed like a Leprechaun and sitting on a keg sort of troubling. Of course, as long as he brings me every single present I asked for this year, I guess I don't mind if Indian Santa strums a sitar while answering phones at his Bangalore call center.