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16/12/2013 15:07 GMT | Updated 16/12/2013 15:12 GMT

Santa Claus' 'German Heritage' Should Be Protected From Commercial Version, Museum Claims

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A German museum is laying claim to Father Christmas by applying for official UNESCO registration.

The Christmas Museum, in the town of Rotherburg, has asked UNESCO to add Father Christmas and St Nicholas to its cultural heritage list.

It is an attempt to counter the commercial version of Santa associated with Coca Cola advertising executives in the 1930s.

Felicitas Höptner, the museum's director, told The Telegraph the much-loved figure's Germanic origins were "under threat".

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She said the original German Father Christmas dated back to the Reformation, while the modern version was triggered when a German magazine published a drawing of a man in a hooded coat carrying a Christmas tree through the snow.

Unesco's ''list of intangible cultural heritage" contains things deemed to "require urgent measures to keep them alive".