Look closely at the pictures below and you will find what made me cringe, just yesterday, during a visit to the local mall. Hey kids, that’s right, it’s a Fred Claus Christmas tie-in! Philosophical debates on the origins and evolution of Christmas culture aside, I found this utterly disturbing. Yes, the post-modern Christmas has more and more become commercial — focused on buying and selling, but never before have I seen a branded Christmas experience. This year though, Santa didn’t come on his own, he was sponsored. The fact that after your child visits Santa Claus (a half-assed Santa at that) he has the opportunity to take green screen shots with a dancing Vince Vaughan, seemed to be a blasphemous blow to the fond memories of my own Christmas’ as a child. On a side note it is not even Thanksgiving yet, a completely different frustration of mine. I hope that this was simply an isolated incident and not characteristic of things to come. Please, please don’t prove me wrong.