Every year at this time the right wing pundits of the world tell us that there’s a War on Christmas, waged by liberal extremists who want to deny us our traditions, strip our cultures of our faith-based customs, and rob our children of a little winter magic.
It’s been a war of words for the most part, with people now saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to make allowances for other faiths that also celebrate holidays at this time of year.
But sometimes the War on Christmas spills out onto main street, like when public buildings are forced to remove displays like manger scenes and Christmas trees, and anything that smacks of the holiday’s Christian roots. Even Santa Claus is not as welcome as he used to be, despite the fact he has as much to do with the true origins of Christmas as the Easter Bunny has to do with the resurrection.
This year Sydney, Australia even advised its Santa Clauses to consider an alternative to “Ho Ho Ho” because the word “Ho” could be seen as offensive to women. Naturally it turned into the joke of the week for talk show hosts everywhere and the suggestion was quietly withdrawn, but somebody was serious when they likened Santa Claus to a pimp.
I really don’t know what to make of this whole War on Christmas thing. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is — this year Whistler decided to do away with the menorah in the village during Chanukah on the same principle we don’t have publicly sponsored manger scenes. That’s fine — nobody has the right to force their traditions down anyone’s throats, whether they’re in the majority or not.
And besides, Santa can take care of himself.
Remember, this is the guy who “sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake.”
With awesome powers of prescience, he also knows if you’ve been naughty or nice every year. And, like evildoers Dick Nixon and Dick Cheney, he’s keeping a list.
When you think about it, Santa Claus is a bit like Tony Soprano in a red felt suit. Nobody messes with the Claus.
To start with, he has a brigade of look-a-likes in every city of the world, served by an army of elves that are fanatically devoted to the cause. He has a fortress in the North Pole that cannot be located on the map, which would make his closest neighbour Superman — and there’s really no contest who would win that fight. The Man Of Steel may be made of steel, while Santa jiggles like a bowl-full of jelly, but there isn’t a superhero alive that can lay a finger on the fat man.