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next week's column: Leave Santa Alone


Leave Santa alone.

Yes, I know he’s not a real person. I’m well aware he’s not directly connected to the true meaning of Christmas. I know many kids have that traumatic moment when they come to realize it was their parents who sneaked out at night to put gifts under the tree, and -- by gosh -- they probably ate the milk and cookies, too. Maybe even the carrots for Rudolph.

But until then, there’s Santa, and Santa is for kids. Leave him alone.

Santas in Sydney, Australia, have been instructed not to say “Ho, ho, ho” anymore, because it may be offensive to women. You see, “Ho”, is a slang term for a prostitute in the United States.

Never mind that when a good Santa says “Ho, ho, ho,” it comes out as more of a laugh than a series of individual words. Never mind that if a kid knows the other definition of “Ho”, they’ve got bigger problems than what Santa’s saying.

Never mind that this comes from Australia, where “Ho” is NOT a slang term for prostitute.

Leave Santa alone.

Some so-called experts who apparently once got coal in their stockings blame Santa for childhood obesity. He’s fat, you see. Remember that scene from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, when Mrs. Claus bugs Santa to eat because kids expect a fat Santa? That’s a no-no. No, not a ho-ho, so we’re okay there, although maybe Santa’s been eating too many Ho-ho’s – and how long before somebody demands Hostess change the name of that treat, since it might be making prostitutes fat?

Santa’s a role model, you see. Dr. Miles Fisher of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, whose parents probably bought him socks and sweaters for Christmas, says “Santa is the archetypal picture of abdominal obesity.”

Any kid trying to read that sentence is off playing with their new Bratz doll before
they get past “archetypal”, assuming Bratz dolls haven’t been recalled for their roll in making children brats, especially children who eat Ho Ho’s.

“If you have obesity around your tummy,” Dr. Fisher goes on, “then it is very bad for you.”

Can’t argue that. I can giggle at a grown man using the term “tummy”, but that would be cheap. Instead, I’ll point out that the main complaint seems to be that Santa is a role model.

Oh, really?

How many kids come out of Christmas saying, “I want to be Santa when I grow up! Where can I go to college for that? Do they have a ride-along program? Mommy, get me some Ho Ho’s – I want to be fat someday, just like Santa!”

Well, maybe some kids do. That’s when you take them aside and say, “Santas start out thin, kiddo –there’s only so much room on the sled, and when you’re in training you need to be able to wedge in next to the big guy.” Believe me, that white lie will be forgotten the first time your kid finds the Santa costume in your closet, then sees the collection of Playboys under it. Nobody said growing up was easy, even before Ho Ho’s.

Kids don’t want to be Santa -- the truth is, most are terrified of Santa. They want him to leave the presents and get out, then they want the fireplace blockaded and padlocked. They just don’t say it because hey -- presents.

Role model? It’s like saying your kids want to be like some dysfunctional pop star with a combo eating/drug problem who’s forgotten how to put underwear on. Okay, bad example.

Children don’t think of Santa being fat. Some would call Santa on it if he had a pipe clenched between his teeth, but that went away a long time ago. It’s the parents, and who cares what the parents think? He’s Santa. As long as he’s not a pervert, let him be.

Santa’s going green now, literally. In a new children’s book, Santa discovers the North Pole is melting because of global warming. He invests in wind and solar power for his factory, dons green suits, makes a movie about his slideshow tour, and nobody notices his energy wasting mansion and his reindeer releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gasses as he flies around every year, putting fossil fuel (coal) into stockings.

Oh, sorry … did I politicize Santa? I guess I forgot my point, which is this:

He’s Santa! He’s there for kids, doggone it! Kids should learn about world issues, but not here, not now. Leave Santa alone!

Oh, I understand Santa’s going to change over time. He used to be the thin, rather stern St. Nicholas, a whole lot scarier than the guy we see today. Maybe, a century from now, he’ll be a model of political correctness, covered head to toe in an baggy green burka so we can’t tell his size, sex, color, or political affiliation.

Maybe the reindeer will ride in his electric powered sleigh, full partners rather than slaves of the scary toymaker. Instead of elves he’ll have associates. He won’t be at the North Pole anymore – that would be seen as a slam against people from the South, not to mention the Polish nation. Every Winter Holiday he’ll bring learning devices to all the unisex children, taking absolutely no notice of whether they’re good or bad, because the little tykes shouldn’t think the world is an unfair place, should they?

Which will be something of a full circle. Here I am complaining when we put our adult phobias onto Santa Claus, but someday the PC police might make him part of their campaign to shield children from real life until it’s too late to learn how to deal with real life. The PC Police get to have their low calorie carrot cake and eat it, too.

Santa’s not about appearance: Fat or skinny, red or green, none of that really matters. It’s about kids and, yes, the spirit of giving. If you believe the kids think it’s all about getting, go talk to them – you might be surprised. Most kids get it, where sadly, the adults don’t. All they want is their Santa – leave him alone.

Now I’m depressed. I’m going to go have a Ho Ho.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
Scary, very scary(but well written).

And as scary as that was, I'm embarrassed to admit that when 'Leave Santa alone!' popped up, by brain instantly connected it with this:

...and then this:

Dec. 14th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
I keep hearing stories about those two videos, but I'd never seen them -- thanks! I mean, thanks, I think. :->
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
Hee I had no traumatic realization. I was more amused than anything when I found out my parents were being Santa. My poor father was running up and downstairs trying to get the stockings and all done on Christmas eve while I was crying because I couldn't sleep and thought Santa wouldn't come. My mom was taking care of me saying that Santa would be there soon anyways then when Dad was done she took me to see that "Santa" had been there so I could go to sleep. I just looked at her and said "no that was daddy" and then was fine with that lol. That being said I'm now the one in the family who sneaks in presents "from Santa" under the tree and in stockings :)

Thise: That’s a no-no. No, not a ho-ho, so we’re okay there, although maybe Santa’s been eating too many Ho-ho’s – and how long before somebody demands Hostess change the name of that treat, since it might be making prostitutes fat? May be one of the best and most amusing reactions I've read to this Santa nonsense.

Dec. 14th, 2007 08:27 am (UTC)
Honestly, I don't remember how I found out, but I sure remember how my youngest daughter found out. I'd gone all out that Christmas, spending way more than I had to make it a really big deal for everyone, because I felt it was likely to be the last holiday in which she believed in Santa. Well, a couple of weeks before Christmas she asked my ex if Santa was real. In keeping with our long-term plan, the ex asked what she thought, and my daughter said no, and that was it.

My credit cards cried that night.

Glad you liked that line! I do have a tendency to play with words, which either amuses or annoys most people.
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:32 am (UTC)
No kidding! I had a direct link to two articles supposedly coming directly from Australia. Either some of the newspapers over there have also been fooled, or it's a pretty darn elaborate fraud -- both of which have certainly happened, of course! Or Snopes has been fooled, but I don't believe in *that*.
Dec. 13th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
This is what you get when Santa starts worrying about his weight....
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:32 am (UTC)
Pretty soon he'll look like your icon!
Dec. 13th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
amen! Santa should be fat, and reindeer should be fuzzy, and gives should be given! I mean, there's a difference between liking something and going nuts about it. When I was young, Captain Planet was a show that I and all my friends loved - but we didn't try to dye ourselves green! Even if a kid wanted to be just like Santa, I think the first thing they'd do is try to acquire reindeer.. or convert the dog. Besides, their PARENTS should be watching their food intake, anyway! *curses society for putting the blame on everything but themselves*
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:33 am (UTC)
Well, I died myself green ... that didn't end well, at all. :->

I'm right there with you with the ultimate responsibility being on the parents. The number one problem we have in today's society is parents who won't take responsibility for being parents.
Dec. 13th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Awww, they all need to get a life and leave Santa alone.
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, they should be careful -- Santa knows where they live.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
Americans have *way* too much influence in the pop culture world.

I'm told now that the "Ho's insulting women in Austrailia" story is an urban legend. What have you heard down there about it?
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 14th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
How in the living heck is Baa Baa Black Sheep racist??? Grrrrr.... I'm surprised more mass murders aren't carried out to older folk who are sick and tired of being told every little thing they remember from their youth is suddenly bad.
Dec. 13th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
I found the allusion to Bratz dolls particularly humorous since they do look like that slang term for protitutes that Santa shouldn't say. LOL.
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:37 am (UTC)
Exactly, that's why I used Bratz dolls when I was fishing around for an example in that line. For the life of me, I don't understand why those dolls are so popular ...
Dec. 14th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
I can't help you out there. I don't get it either. Not only do they look like sluts, but they are just freaky looking in general. And the removable feet are too bizarre for me.
Dec. 14th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
Personally, I like my dolls the way I like my animation: as lifelike as possible.

Not that I have dolls. 'Cause I don't. I'm just saying. :-)
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:43 am (UTC)
Ah ha! Amazing satire. I like how you took something seemingly unimportant and made a connection to society. And the PC police! *grins* I was thinking about the lengths people go through to politically correct when I got through the second paragraph of this! Maybe one day Santa will have his own PR office. Now THERE'S something I'd like to do for a career.

This reminded me of that guy who wrote about cooking babies back when people were starving in Europe. Extremes to prove a point . . .

Anyway, VERY entertaining Santa.

Though I'm sure my old Essay/Research teacher would be happy to hear about the green thing. His son is color blind (mixing up red and green) and he colored santa's suit green in his preschool class and got yelled at for it. He was very upset about that . . . yeah, off topic, I know. I have to go read more of your editorials now.
Dec. 14th, 2007 10:14 am (UTC)
glad you liked it!
Santa's PR man! But then, if he had one, the next thing would be waves of muckracking reporters swooping down, assuming Santa must be up to something nasty or he wouldn't be sneaking around, hiding his operation at the North Pole. Are you sure you want that job? :-)

You have to be very careful writing satire, irony, or any similar phrase that describes something many people don't get. I was threatened once because, during a column about cloning, I made fun of cats. The guy tried to have me prosecuted because I was "inciting cruelty to animals". What I was inciting was stupid people to join the PC Police.

The kid got yelled at for coloring Santa's suit green? Overreaction, much? Sheesh.
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: glad you liked it!
Actually, I wouldn't mind it. I briefly thought about going into politics. The foreign service, to be exact. Then reality hit when I read that you're supposed to support the US policies completely. I got the image of myself reading the policy at an embassy and using air quotations. Then I got the image of myself being the first person in a long time to die by firing squad.

Hehe. Ironically, the guy who wrote the baby article DID get brought up on charges. To which he had a good laugh, I'm sure. I can't remember his name for the life of me. I learned about that in Humanities while studying Gothic England . . . I learned a lot of random crap in that class . . . but I don't know the name! Gar! I'll ask my Journalism teacher today. I'm surprised you didn't write an article about the guy. *snorts* I would have been extremely unkind.

I thought so. But you know America, we don't like people to be different.
Dec. 14th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
Re: glad you liked it!
True, a person in the foreign service has the job of supporting their nation's policies. If I was a career diplomat when Hillary Clinton took office I'd have to take early retirement, or my head would explode; I'd imagine you feel the same about Bush. But you see, I actually *have* been through this before: I've worked for the Sheriff's Department for 17 years, and in that time I've watched three Sheriff's get elected, come, and go. It's a small version of exactly what happens in the national government: They change around the people at the top level, and everyone below that has to either accept all the new ways of doing things, or hit the door. It's not much fun.

Maybe I would have written an article about that guy if I'd heard about it ... or then again, maybe I did hear about it sometime in the distant past, but forgot. Well, I have to come up with 52 ideas for *next* year, so if you find out his name let me know!

Edited at 2007-12-14 05:55 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
AMEN! And *sigh*
Dec. 15th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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