Paul McCarthy, Santa Claus with a Butt Plug, 2007

It’s easy to gawk at the St. Nicholas lore of other cultures, but things aren’t necessarily quiet on the home front when it comes to Santa.  L.A.-based artist Paul McCarthy cast the American Santa in a controversial light in Antwerp, Belgium in 2007, when he erected an 80-foot-high inflatable Santa with a Butt Plug, also known as “Buttplug Gnome.”  When Antwerp rejected it, it was moved to its permanent location in – where else – the Netherlands, the capital of non-P.C. St. Nick imagery.  It now greets commuters at a subway station in Rotterdam.  Ho-ho-ho!