To many Germans, Santa's spread is an unwelcome reminder of the encroachment of American commercialism into Europe. "People are starting to become critical of commercialism in every respect," says Hermann Bausinger, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Tübingen.
"Christmas has switched from being only a celebration within the family and the church to being a public event starting late in November and going on through January," says Mr. Bausinger.
The problem, as German television celebrity Mr. Hahne sees it, is that American-style Santas are crowding out Saint Nicholas, the traditional Christmas icon of this hilly Germany village named after the 4th-century bishop. "Santa is a symbol of consumption," Hahne says. "Nicholas was a real bishop [who] taught us what's still very true today: giving does not make us poorer. It makes us richer." >> continue