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I know, it sounds a bit harsh. Maybe more than a bit harsh. I can understand how a lot of people might react with horror to a denunciation of Santa Claus this strong, this resolute, this final. Death to Santa.
I’m not calling for his rehabilitation. I’m not suggesting he needs to be put in his proper place. I don’t want him to lose weight, go vegan, sober up, recognize the Elves union, diversify his workforce, or even start publicly acknowledging the crucial role Mrs. Claus must surely play in this frenetically overblown and elongated HellaHoliday we call Christmas. We are, in my view, beyond rehab. Santa Claus must die.
Why, you may be asking yourself from a shocked state of horrified bewilderment? Why must Santa die?
Because the fucking guy has ruined Christmas, that’s why. He’s out of control. He’s run amok for so long that people don’t even realize the profoundly malignant influence he wields over our lives. He so thoroughly overshadows every other cultural icon or religious figure associated with the goddamned holiday that their influence barely ranges from the marginal to the negligible, while his grows larger and more ominous by the year.
When’s the last time you walked into the mall and saw Tiny Tim limping around on his crutch, chirping “God bless us everyone! “ Or how about the Grinch and his heart grown three sizes larger? You don’t see the two of them patiently working their way through a line of expectant children, dispensing themes of generosity and gratitude to the little tots, while their increasingly irritated and exhausted parents look around frantically for a coffee-shop or a Jesus-H-Christ-won’t-somebody-please- help-me martini bar. No, you get Santa merrily stoking those kids up to extort a small fortune out of haggard-assed mom and dad.
Let’s get real here. Tiny Tim gets an annual two hour run on cable TV during prime time, if he’s lucky. The best the Grinch could do is a Jim Carrey feature film remake haphazardly adapted from the original 1968 animated Christmas special. Ebeneezer Scrooge? Frosty? Rudolph? Charlie Brown’s Linus, adorable with his blanket, and wisdom, and thumb in his mouth? They’re all back-benchers. Losers, even.
They each get an hour or two of public exposure once a year while Santa gets more airtime in TV commercials alone than the rest of them put together. He’s selling everything from cars, to beer, to cookies, to breakfast cereal, crockpots, clothes, socket wrenches and shaving cream. It’s enough to make you wonder if Mrs. Claus is really Alice Walton.
Plus, he’s in the walkways of all the malls, inside the stores inside all the malls, and at office Christmas parties, on postcards, lawn displays, billboards, digital ads, Youtube videos and rent-a Santa’s. Let that sink in a minute. You. Can. Fucking. Rent. One. You can’t get away from him unless you plan to spend the rest of the Christmas season in an ironclad, shrink-wrapped and airtight deprivation chamber submerged in 100 feet of water off the coast of nowhere in particular. If you’re above ground and breathing you will have to deal with Santa Claus, and he most certainly will deal with you.
He appears jolly and generous, merrily rotund. He seems like a good guy. But before you can deck your bells and jingle your boughs of holly beneath the mistletoe, he’ll quietly and unsustainably overload your credit card until it won’t fit in your purse anymore. Or he’ll exponentially increase your balance, and inflate the effects of, your 34% interest rate at Paycheck Loans One Stop. He’ll unsustainably overload your calorie count too. You’ll start to look like him: bloated, puffy and intrusive. He’ll make you punch a stranger at Walmart. He’ll make that stranger wanna punch you the fuck back.
He’ll corrosively chip away at the fragile fabric of your seasonal psyche until every Santa sighting, every song, every bulb, tree, wreath, garish light display, ribbon, bow, and Santa-esque spangled gift packaged box elicits a visceral revulsion against all that is false, hollow, sick, twisted and just plain goddamned sad and sorry about Christmas.
And where is the Baby Jesus in all of this? The guy who, ostensibly, inspired the whole damn Christmas thing? You know, Mary, Joseph, Wise Men, Myrrh, whatever the hell that is? No room at the Inn? It’s allegedly his birthday, remember? The Prince of Peace? That guy? I mean, if you absolutely have to honor this runaway truck of a holiday, couldn’t we at least draw from the best of the Christian tradition and angle for the sense of peace and Silent Night that the Baby Jesus is supposed to be emblematic of? How’s he faring against the roly poly, red bellied marauder from the Arctic?
He’s getting his ass kicked. Name me one famous Christmas movie that stars Jesus. Just one. I googled “ famous Christmas movies “ and beyond the obvious selections like “ It’s A Wonderful Life” “ A Christmas Carol “ “ Miracle on 34th St “ and “ White Christmas “, I also got “ Scrooged” “ Home Alone “ and even “ Die Hard “. You’re far more likely to get Bruce Willis than Jesus on the silver screen at Christmastime. Merry yippie ki-yay, motherfucker!
And every December 24th, the North American Aerospace Defense Command ( NORAD ), turns it’s extraordinary tracking capabilities to the night sky as the sun sets across America. Are they looking for the Star of Bethlehem, the birth of the Christ child, or a white winged dove about to descend upon the Earth to usher in a thousand year reign of peace?
No, they’re tracking Santa Claus, who’s flying overhead with a great big bag of cheap crap made by sweatshop laboring Elves who work in the north freeze pole. If NORAD were willing to scramble a couple of F-16 fighter jets in response I could definitely stomach the cost to the taxpayers, but they’re not. They’re promoting the guy!
I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take one more year of this mind blistering, soul numbing, nerve wracking, Holidazzling, jingle-belled, halldecked, package wrapping, rip-snorting, tree trimming, egg nog swilling pandemonium writ large fest called Christmas, which is designed to do little other than tax our brains, jangle our goddamned nerves and drain our collective fucking wallets. Enough.
Say it with me. You can do it. Santa must die! Death to Santa!
Steve Carlson is a semi-retired union/community/political organizer and the former Wisconsin state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.