He sees when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good and he deserves a cigarette break!

In celebration of the holidays, we’ll be taking a look at some of the classic Christmas ads that have permeated pop culture through the years. We start with this doozy from 1948, a Camel cigarette ad featuring Santa Claus telling you to give the gift of lung cancer this season. I’m sure it’s hard to imagine that the company that once had Joe Camel as a mascot would use Kris Kringle to sell smokes, right? I love that people are wrapping these things up and giving them as gifts. Sadly, I have in fact seen people give cartons of cigarettes as a Christmas present. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

As it turns out, Santa Claus is a pretty famous advertisement whore. Think about it. Nobody owns the rights to Santa Claus and he’s probably the most famous person in the world, second only to Jesus Christ. Plus Jesus doesn’t have his own season dedicated to his popularity… Oh wait, right. Anyway, if you’re going to advertise something, why not use the big red cigarette selling machine?

Santa apparently can’t decide what his favorite brand is. Perhaps just like toys, he’s a master connoisseur of smokes? One thing’s for certain, these smokes aren’t liable to protect you against throat scratch. Claus is immortal so he can smoke it up all he wants, but he clearly isn’t looking out for your best interest.

My favorite classic Christmas smoking ad is probably this one for Lucky Strikes. Santa says that the Strikes are easy on his throat and yet at the same time his beard is yellow, he looks a bit unkempt and I’m sure he had a shot of Jack Daniels after he finished his Lucky Strikes. This is what smoking Santa really looks like. Who said there wasn’t truth in advertising?

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