147 million chocolate Father Christmases ready for Christmas
In some countries the sweet gentlemen in their red and gold aluminium clothes make their first appearance on 6 December, St Nicholas’ Day. And as everything needs to be ready on time, the production of chocolate Father Christmases, gingerbread, etc, starts early. First deliveries take place in the summer, a long time before Christmas – which is quite reasonable seeing that production figures are so high.
For the 2017 Christmas season, Germany alone produced 147 million chocolate Father Christmases,, including 47 million for export. In the United States at least 19 million Santas are eaten over the Christmas period. Chocolate Father Christmases can look back to a long tradition. The oldest solid figures date back to 1820 and were followed about 20 years later by hollow ones.
They were similar to the ones we have today, except that nowadays they’re covered in highly specialised aluminium foil to protect them from both the light and the printing ink. The aluminium packaging is so strong that it’s even possible to sculpt sharp edges and points without causing the material to tear. The use of special packaging technology also means that a Father Christmas or St Nicholas is really easy to open. A special finish on both sides of the foil works a bit like an elastic band, so that the foil comes off in one piece, without tearing.
More and more standard confectionery items are clothed in special Christmas attire each year. Photo: STORCK DEUTSCHLAND KG
Many of us today may well be under the impression that Christmas goodies appear on our supermarket shelves in the summer. It’s not quite like that, but from September we can easily find various gingerbread items between the biscuit and chocolate sections. Ultimately, of course, the timing of the first Christmas goodies in the shops is decided by retailers.
Consumer demand for Christmas treats has been increasing steadily over the last few decades – and there is also a lot more choice. Products that are available all year round are packaged specially as Christmas items and are sometimes even gift-wrapped.
At Easter we eat even more chocolate than at Christmas: 220 million Easter bunnies compared with 147 million chocolate Father Christmases. Photo: Lindt & Sprüngli
By the end of the festive period, the average German has an extra 370 grams on their hips. And there’s not a lot of time to get rid of it at the gym before the next chocolate goodies are ready for our hungry tummies. It’s unbelievable but true: Easter is an even more chocolatey feast than Christmas. In 2018 Germany’s chocolate bunnies reached the proud figure of 220 million.