The German supermarket chain Penny has introduced a new LGBT Santa Claus chocolate figure in rainbow colors just in time for the Christmas holidays.
Near the checkout lines at Penny supermarkets, customers now find special gay Christmas chocolate men, along with the traditional German Christmas treats of Spekulatius and gingerbread (Lebkuchen).
Earlier this month, the supermarket chain informed its 285,000 Facebook friends that this Christmas season customers could expect to find in their stores a special rainbow-colored “Zipfelmann” (“Tip-Man”) in a show of solidarity with the LGBT movement.
Instead of the classical Santa Claus, or Weihnachtsmann, several years ago Penny supermarkets introduced their alternative Zipfelmann, which already had customers wondering whether this was the store’s way of undercutting Christmas.
In its Facebook post, Penny said that the new rainbow-colored Santa figure represents “Diversity, tolerance and love ️❤️ .”
The supermarket chain said it was “overwhelmed” by all the positive feedback it had received, noting they had touched people’s “rainbow hearts” in their campaign for “anti-discrimination.”
“Thanks to everyone who commented. #Rainbow love #tip man #erstmalzupenny,” the post reads in a combination of German and English.
Many of the comments are indeed positive, with customers promising to pop on over to pick up their little gay Zipfelmen to distribute to their uptight friends as “a sign of humanity and against hate speech,” and others touting the marketing scheme as “an absolutely brilliant idea.”
Other reactions haven’t been quite so positive, with some commenters bemoaning the politicization of even sacred holidays like the Nativity of Jesus.
“It’s so sad,” wrote one. “Why do you have to debase and abandon old customs? … I’ll never understand why you have to make Santa Claus into a Zipfel man. Christmas is part of our culture.”
Santa Claus is a well-ingrained part of German Christmas lore, and the plump, red-dressed man in the white beard is none other than a popularized version of the celebrated Greek bishop of the fourth century: Saint Nicholas.
Some have gone so far as to associate the appearance of the gay Zipfelmann with the self-hatred of a once Christian culture, which now opens itself up only to Islam.
“We have had so many mosques built,” wrote one Saskia on Facebook, “but I will never understand why we have to turn Santa Claus into Zipfelmann.”
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