Everyone loves Santa Claus, and everyone loves chocolate. Put them together, and you've got a delicious holiday treat. But what inspired this idea in the first place? Who came up with the idea of chocolate Santas? And is it really nothing more than ritualized cannibalism?
Chocolate is known as an aphrodisiac the world over today, but until fairly recently, it was mostly the domain of the Aztecs, the Mayans, and European royalty. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Industrial revolution brought equipment that mixed dried cocoa powder with cocoa butter. This resulted in a form of chocolate that was not only pourable, but moldable. Most likely, the Germans can take credit for making the first chocolate Santa Clauses -- December 6 is known as Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas' Day, and the traditional gift appears to have been a toy and a piece of chocolate.
In the book Pagan Christmas, authors Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Eberling posit that the ritual consumption of the chocolate Santa is a way of "butchering" Father Christmas after we've unwrapped our gifts. But maybe -- just maybe -- we do it because chocolate is really, really delicious!