East Pole: The Top 10 Strange Santas from China

Christmas with Chinese characteristics? Yule betcha! It's Christmas in China, where winter werewolves are chowing down on beef chow mein at Lee Ho Ho Ho Fooks and even the most exhausted elves don't envy their counterparts cranking out iPhones over at Foxconn.



10) Panda Claws

That ain't no reindeer, nor is it a polar bear... well, maybe a bi-polar bear. Zookeepers at the Jinan Zoo in Jinan City decided to put on Santa Claus suits as they gave the resident creatures their Christmas gifts: their favorite foods. Good thing that panda wasn't a polar bear or the Santas might have been the main course. (China Santa image via China.org)  



9) "Ho Ho Ho Gasp Wheeze *THUD*"

Granted a slim Santa will find going up and down chimneys a lot easier but ol' Saint Nick is supposed to be chubby. That's why he's jolly, after all. How cheerful would YOU be if you had to ride a stationary bike while wearing a head-to-toe fleecy suit, hat and beard? (China Santa image via Want China Times



8) Your Christmas Head Quarters

Here's a Chinese worker installing Santa Claus mannequins at a market in Beijing. Little does he know we've switched one of the dummies for a real, live Santa's Helper. What could possibly go wrong? (China Santa image via Zimbio



7) Santa's Chop Shop

So this is where the good people of Whoville get their roast beasts, in this case turkeys barbecued in traditional Chinese style. As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fry. (China Santa image via People's Daily Online



6) Merry Christmas Tutu You

Here we have a group of Chinese winter swimmers wearing Santa Claus costumes, playing a spirited game of soccer on a frozen lake in Shenyang. Why are they called “winter swimmers”? Just a little more jumping and all will become clear. (China Santa image via VOA News



5) He Sees You When You're Snorkeling

Supposedly these are some scuba-diving Santa Clauses seranading the sea turtles up close & personal at an ocean park in Fuzhou. Looks more like the “after” shot from the Chinese Winter Swimmers image though. (China Santa image via Sulekha.com



4) Xmas Gangnam Style

If the Gangnam Style fad hasn't fully faded yet, this oughta do it. Dig the un-Santa-like shoes on that guy, sheesh... he must be confusing St. Nicholas with St. Hubbins, the Patron Saint of Quality Footwear. (China Santa image via Want China Times)



3) Feather Christmas

OK, so now the image of those bike-riding, exercising Santas makes more sense: they're preparing for the annual Xmas Ostrich Ride! Christmas in China is very disturbing indeed. (China Santa image via Telegraph Media Group Ltd.)



2) Holiday Cheer

“It's the most wonderful time of the year,” though you wouldn't know it from the harried expression on this Nanjing woman's face. Not only does she have to work overtime making toys at the factory, she's gotta buy a bunch of 'em for her kids. Capitalism, how does it work? (China Santa image via Demotix)



1) Pull Over, Gramps

We've got the TSA, China's got the PLA – and Santa's gonna lose valuable time getting through security either way. Rudolf and the other reindeer have been taken to an undisclosed location for x-ray examinations and full cavity searches. (China Santa image via The Atlantic/Reuters)


As China digests and integrates foreign cultural iconography into their traditions, one can expect a little distortion – sometimes more than a little. It's no different with Christmas and Santa Claus but not to worry, the big guy can handle it. Can you? (China Santa images via Reuters, top, and BWG, above)

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