Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Firsts #11: Penguins

This year, I fell into the sentimental trap of making some penguin softies for Christmas .... and I am not the only one - penguins seem to be everywhere at the moment dressed in Christmassy costumes, with trees, bells, and all kinds of Christmas paraphernalia.   Should penguins really  be associated with Christmas?   Probably not  and not as Santa's helpers as they often depicted. Penguins inhabit the Antarctic region in the South Pole, while Santa Claus it has been established has his home in the North Pole. The theory is that somehow penguins are associated with snow, then Winter, then Christmas, but what about us in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps they are just cute? 
Whatever the reason, when were penguins first seen as part of the Christmas scene

While there is no verifiable answer, it would seem that Monty the Penguin in the John Lewis Christmas advertisement in 2014  popularised  the trend. (If you are not familiar with the  Christmas  advertisements  of John Lewis, a British department store chain, they are always abound with goodwill, love and peace  and celebrate the joy of giving. )  Monty the Penguin was 'given the Christmas he was wishing for"... 

I really don't think Monty can take the credit for being the FIRST penguin to be associated with the festive season. Think about the penguins of Madagascar in a Christmas Caper in 2005.

And in  South Korea, Japan, Britain and USA ,  penguins have been dressing up for Christmas at least since 2010 for aquarium and zoo displays. There may well be many other countries which have similar festive displays, but the Japanese penguins have had the most publicity for the daily walks in costume,  leading up to Christmas.   

While Monty the Penguin in 2014 certainly consolidated penguins' popularity as part of  the Christmas magic..  Even if penguins other than Monty  might have a claim to being the first Christmas penguin,  it would seem that penguins defy all logic and remain sentimental favourites amongst the Christmas menagerie.

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