The Perils Of Christmas


The War on Christmas is over, and only nitwits and sophomores are still proclaiming that “Happy Holidays” is the one true path to enlightenment.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, unfortunately, even though it serves no purpose, the silliness surrounding the biggest celebration on the Christian calendar continues.  I guess there’s just something about “Peace on Earth” that brings out every disaffected dolt with a grudge and an Internet connection.  However, take heart!  Here are a few helpful hints to avoid the perils of a contemporary Christmas.

The Tree – There’s always somebody who’s going to point out that Christmas trees are actually pagan symbols and then literally bathe in the suggested religious hypocrisy.  The best retort is, “Yes, that’s true.  In fact, it was sexually repressed, anal retentive Puritans who banned Christmas trees for that very reason.”  (Pause – 1, 2, 3)  “By the way, which kind are you?”

The Songs – They’ve already banned “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” so can “don we now our gay apparel” and “folks dressed up like Eskimos” be far behind?  Even “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is under suspicion … bullying!  After all, when “all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names” Rudolph didn’t contact an authority figure (i.e. Santa Claus) to complain.  The best thing to do is stick to “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano.  It’ll drive you stark raving mad, but it ticks all the boxes.

Mistletoe – Not a good idea.

Office Parties – A grand tradition of good cheer and camaraderie that has fallen on hard times.  These days, nobody’s willing to chance waking up the morning after with a screaming hangover and a retroactive lawsuit.  So be it.  However, there’s no need to cancel this year’s festivities: simply segregate the party by gender — like they do in Muslim countries.

The Presents – Commercialism has always been the battle cry of those pompous asses who don’t understand Christmas in the first place.  However, this one is easy.  All you have to do is buy presents that nobody’s ever heard of.  Things like Fair Trade/handmade Ecuadorian shoelaces, or a Nigerian nose flute or a Community College course in roof thatching.  And what child wouldn’t be overjoyed to discover a bundle of organic asparagus in her stocking?

Santa Claus – This is a bad one.  Not only is Santa clearly running a sweatshop where a beleaguered minority (the elves) are forced to work long hours in less than ideal conditions, but there’s also the question of Mrs. Claus – a women so oppressed she doesn’t even have a first name!  Plus, there’s the bullying issue (covered in #2) the obesity issue, the trust issue, the judgemental issue and nobody really knows how big a carbon footprint flying reindeer leave.  This is a minefield, and the only way out of it is to tell your kids Santa Claus DOESN’T bring presents – Amazon does.  Problem solved.

But the very best way to avoid the perils of a contemporary Christmas is simply to keep Christmas in your own way and don’t sweat the mean- spirited morons who want to ruin it.

Christmas and Clausaphobia

santa-clausEvery December, the world is gripped in a pandemic of Clausaphobia – the irrational fear of Santa Claus.  Believe it or not, there are people in this world (normal, rational, reasonable adults) who don’t believe in Santa Claus.  This is sad.  Fortunately, we all know Santa Claus does exist, but for those skeptics out there I will, once again, set the record straight with hard evidence.

Here’s the real story of Santa Claus, based on historical fact.  Santa Claus has been around forever.  He’s known by a number of different names — Sinterklaas in Holland, Father Christmas in Britain, Pere Noel in France etc. etc. — but it’s all the same guy.  He lives at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus (who, oddly enough, doesn’t have a first name) a ton of elves and the reindeer.  All year long, the elves make toys in a gigantic workshop.  Then, once a year, Santa loads up his magic sleigh, hitches up the reindeer (who can fly, BTW) and goes around the world, delivering toys to good girls and boys.  How do I know this?  Documented proof!  Santa Claus has actually been seen – at least three times in the last two centuries.  There are also a few secret contemporary photographs which haven’t been authenticated.  However, let’s just stick to the facts.

santa (1)

In 1823, Clement Moore, a professor at Columbia College, woke up on Christmas Eve and witnessed Santa Claus delivering toys to his house.  He wrote a poem about his experience, called ‘Twas the Night before Christmas which was published in the Sentinel newspaper in Troy, New York.  In that poem, Moore describes Santa quite accurately.  He also describes the reindeer (miraculously remembering Santa’s names for them) and their ability to fly.  There is some controversy over Moore’s account, however, because he describes “a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer” and goes on to call Santa himself “a right jolly old elf.”  Since we know (from corroborating evidence) that Santa Claus is actually quite a large gentleman, we can only conclude that Clement either didn’t have his glasses on or suffered from an undiagnosed eye ailment.

Santa Claus was next seen by Thomas Nast, sometime in the 1860s.  Nast was a cartoonist and social commentator who gave us, among other things, Uncle Sam, the symbols of both the Republican and Democratic political parties and the term “nasty.”  Obviously, a witness to history like Nast would not let his encounter with Santa Claus go unrecorded.  In the January 3rd, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, Nast drew an illustration of Santa Claus meeting Union troops and passing out gifts during the Civil War.  We know this portrayal to be accurate because Santa Claus appears exactly as Clement Moore described him!  Clearly, these two depictions are of the same person.  Nast seems to have developed a long-term relationship with Santa Claus, because, twenty years later, he drew him again in what looks like a seated portrait.

The next documented sighting of Santa Claus occurred sometime in the late 1920s.  Haddan Sundblom, an advertising artist, must have met Santa on several occasions or even convinced him to, once again, pose for a portrait.  In 1931, Sundblom painted a picture of Santa as an advertisement for the Coca Cola™ Company.  It appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.  Sundblom’s image was immediately and universally recognized as Santa Claus — the same Santa Claus Nast drew 70 years earlier.  In fact, Sundblom’s portrait was so accurate that over the last 80 plus years, not one single person in the entire world has even hinted that this might not be Santa Claus — not one.

These are just three examples that document the truth about Santa Claus.  There are more.

This Christmas, as you celebrate the season of joy, remember that there are those among us who are frightened and confused.  And although education is our best defence against Clausaphobia, don’t confront those who suffer (clausaphobes get very agitated by the truth.)  Accept them.  They are poor unfortunates, and it’s not their fault.  Perhaps, you can make a difference if you just say, in a kindly voice, “You don’t have to believe.  Just write to Santa.  He’ll answer.”
Santa Claus
North Pole
H0H 0H0

Christmas: The To Don’t List!

ChristmasOnce again, this year, Christmas has snuck up on me.  In two weeks (14 sleeps) Santa Claus is coming down the chimney, and I haven’t decked one hall nor bought one present.  In fact, I’m still sorting the plastic skeletons from Hallowe’en.  Not a good start to the most complicated festival in North America. Fortunately, I have a Christmas To Don’t List that always gets me through the holiday season, and I’m willing to share it with you.

1 – Don’t fight with your family.  Yes, the conditions are just right for a good, old-fashioned family flare-up: you can’t get away; you’re bored out of your skull and Ray’s wife is still the same bitch she always was.  But it’s only for a couple of days, for God’s sake — be nice.  Remember you can ditch your friends if they piss you off, but this is the only family you’re ever going to get — ever — and eventually you’re going to regret being a jerk, so make the best of it.

2 – Don’t tie into the adult beverages like it’s the end of prohibition — pace yourself.  Remember what happened last year.  You got Bob from Shipping under the mistletoe and started looking for his tonsils with your tongue.  You told Bashir, “man-to-man,” that you thought his wife Anna was really hot.  And then you explained to your niece (in detail) that her mother’s first husband was a juggler she married in high school but Nana threatened him with jail time and the marriage was annulled.   None of these drunken revels made for a very holly jolly Christmas, did they?   So use your head and tip the Christmas cheer in moderation.

3 – Don’t get carried away buying presents.  Just because the Three Wise Men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh (what the hell is myrrh, anyway?) that doesn’t mean you have to.  Those credit cards are not a license to go bankrupt.  Use your head: January’s coming.

4 – Don’t deck the halls like Clark W. Griswold.  Yeah, we all love getting into the Christmas spirit, but it’s simply not a good idea to turn your home into an illuminated YouTube sensation.  You have to live with your neighbours the other 11 months of the year. Never forget that.

5 – Don’t eat so damn much!  You’re going to regret it in 6 months when it’s swimsuit season and you look like an ostrich egg on legs.

6 – Don’t watch more than a couple of feel-good holiday movies.  Too much emotional sugar is bad for you, and your perfectly good Christmas is going to appear cheap and tawdry compared to what Bing and Danny accomplished.  And no Martha Stewart until January 15th.

7 – Don’t ever say “Christmas is getting too commercialized.”  You’d just sound like a middle class cliché.

And finally:

8 — Don’t forget Christmas is about loot — the presents you get and the presents you give.  Don’t just buy everybody the same old crap.  Really think about what you’re giving people and why.  And always remember the most precious thing you have to give — or you’re ever going to receive — is time.