Santa Claus or Christkind?

Sebastian BergmannArne BlankertsStefan Priebsch |

Christmas may be one of the best examples for great storytelling. This story has been retold countless times, but never seems to get boring. Plus, Christmas has even been turned into a big revenue generator by many major industries. One might wonder if the revenue feeds into the story or vice versa.

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Interestingly enough, the Christmas story is quite different, depending not only on whether you are religious, or what your belief is, but also depending on where you live.

In Bavaria, for example, the Christkind brings the presents. Admittedly, there are some plot holes: How does a small baby move around heavy presents? (It has angels helping out). Why do movies show that Santa Claus brings all the presents? (Santa is responsible for US kids, the Christkind takes care of Bavarian kids). Why do grown-ups buy and wrap up so many presents before Christmas? (The Christkind takes care of the kids, grown-ups help out by taking care of other grown-ups).

All of these are actual questions asked by kids in our families, and actual answers that we have come up with. It is not always easy to come up with a good answer on the spot, which may be one reason why the credibility somehow diminishes over time. Then again, every story has their weak spots. Take Star Wars, for example. Why would there be visible and audible explosions in space, where there is no air, and sound cannot travel? A weak spot just cannot ruin a good story.

As far as we know, the Christkind brings presents for all kids, not just the good ones. Santa Claus, in contrast, is known to deliver a piece of coal to the bad kids. These days, we could indeed spend a long time pondering all possible interpretations of why Santa might feel inclined to deliver coal to people in North America.

If you want to find out what Christmas has taught Stefan about IT projects and writing the right software, you really should attend his workshop Good User Stories, which is part of The Online PHP Conference in January 2021.

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