A majority of Brits and Americans want a "modern update" to Santa Claus, according to a survey conducted by logo-making company, GraphicSprings, and they're even open to a "gender-neutral" St. Nick — even if that flies in the face of tradition.
Fox News reports that GraphicSprings surveyed more than 800 "people across the U.S. and U.K, asking them how they would 'rebrand' or modernize the jolly fellow," and they had some....interesting...ideas about how to bring Santa Claus into the 21st century.
The group then submitted the responses of the first survey to a wider group of 4,000 individuals to vote on.
"About 23 percent of respondents think Santa should have an iPhone, while 25 percent said Saint Nicholas should wear sneakers or trainers. Eighteen percent said he should be 'more hipster,' while 22 percent said he should ditch the sleigh and reindeer for a flying car," Fox News reported.
Around a quarter of respondents also said that Santa should give up the North Pole toy workshop and just admit that he uses Amazon Prime like everyone else buying gifts for Christmas.
As for what a "new and improved" Santa Claus might look like, respondents suggest that Santa could sport tattoos, could stand to lose a little weight (maybe a vegan diet?), and could adopt a new hairstyle, though they didn't specify whether that would include Santa shaving off his trademark beard and mustache.
In a sign of the times, a handful of respondents — around 10% — also wanted Santa to swap genders, and around 17% suggested that Santa should go "gender neutral," according to a local New Jersey cable affiliate.
At least one respondent said the thought of an older man breaking into homes through the chimney and leaving gifts for small children struck them as "creepy." A female or gender-neutral Santa Claus makes more sense, somehow.
“I picture a woman giving presents,” one respondent interviewed for the local New Jersey story told reporters. “I just feel like a white, old man giving presents is kind of creepy.”
Others felt that Santa's status as (spoiler alert) "not real" gives parents license to make Santa Claus whatever they want, including a gender-neutral "spirit" who happens to be generous at a very specific time of year, not tied to any religious celebration or calendar holiday.
“I think Santa is a mystical creature, so it can be whatever you want it to be,” another respondent told New Jersey local news.
If that weren't enough, it seems Santa's reindeer are also reportedly switching genders. Once though of as mostly male — the age-old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer holiday special seemed to portray all nine reindeer as male, including the famous Rudolph, himself — a Texas A&M "expert" on the subject now insists that Santa's famous flying crew is mostly female, and that Santa runs a lady-led operation.
"'Santa’s reindeers were really females, most likely,' said Alice Blue-McLendon, a veterinary medicine professor specializing in deer who cites the depictions of Santa’s helpers with antlers as the primary evidence," the New York Post reports.
The Post says that other experts disagree. "Reindeer grow antlers regardless of gender, and most bulls typically shed their fuzzy protrusions before Christmas," they say. In addition, Santa's reindeer could be "castrated males" chosen specifically for the task of pulling a magical sleigh.