Across Europe more than 156 million Santas were seen to sparkle on the shelves last season, while, in Germany alone, more than 151 million versions of the jolly white-bearded man were sold – an increase of 4% from the year before. It is estimated that the surface area of the foil used to wrap all the Santas produced in Europe is now close to 4 million sq meters, so could completely cover several major European cities, reports the European Aluminum Foil Assn.
In these hyper-environmentally aware times, it is also worth noting that Santa’s wrapper can be completely recycled. With recycling rates for aluminum packaging in Germany now well above 87%, it is great to know there is a Sustainable Santa as well as the tastiest of Christmas treats.
While most images depict a jolly, portly man with lots of white whiskers, thanks to modern printing techniques for foil, Santa can be seen in his local, cultural form. So we can have Saint Nicholas for his religious origins, Sinterklaas in The Netherlands or Kris Kringle in the USA. Another example is Joulupukki, who is the Finnish Christmas figure and that name literally means "Christmas goat" or "Yule Goat". Thankfully today he looks more like a traditional Santa.
All across Europe Father Christmas’s image can be reproduced to be seen in his local manifestation. But, of course, thanks to aluminum foil’s shiny surface, he is always bright and sparkling and full of Christmas wonder.
"Of course the serious business of protecting the chocolate Santa on his journey down the chimney and to his spot under the Christmas Tree is an important reason why aluminium foil is the perfect choice for his wrapping material,” explained Marika Knorr, deputy exec dir.-European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). “He is protected from dust, light, moisture and external odours thanks to the barrier properties of the foil and its deadfold properties mean it is a super-tight fit to ensure the barrier is effective.”
Many of these figures are sold internationally, so the bright, colourful wrappers (and what’s inside) bring Christmas joy to many parts of the world.