One of the stupidest things I’ve heard in recent years in regards to Christmas was that Australia banned their department store Santas from saying, “Ho ho ho,” because it was derogatory. Who made this decision; a twelve-year-old? That’s a fine example of political correctness taken to extreme idiocy. It’s like saying, you can’t say Merry Christmas but can still celebrate it.
Granted there are other religious celebrations at this time of year but if someone wishes me Happy Hanukkah and another wishes me Merry Christmas and a third wishes me a Cool Yule, I get the sentiment. I don’t have to push my religious beliefs or superiority down anyone’s throat. I take it in the spirit of the sentiment.
I was also told by one co-worker once that her children (at their school) were told to say Merry Xmas not Merry Christmas because Xmas wasn’t making it Christian. WTF? There are so many things wrong with this statement (and I don’t know if it was this woman’s or the school’s). One, Christmas is, well…Christian. Duh! X is an old symbol for cross, as in crisscross, the crossroads, railroad Xing. It’s not because trains make X’s at that spot; it’s because they cross the road at that spot. The pronunciation of Christ in Christmas is “kris” and hence the X is a shortened form of writing “Christmas”. Really, how dumb can people get?
But Santa, he’s as Christmas as a shopping frenzy. When I was a kid, we of course had the obligatory trip to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap. I can’t remember any of those visits really, nor what I asked for. My childhood greed and wants changed every year I’m sure. The only Santa visit I truly remember was the last one.
(Spoiler alert on Santa’s existence.) I had already figured out that Santa wasn’t real and really was my mother storing gifts in her closet. Not yet at the stage of wanting to preserve the magic and the harmless lie, I said I didn’t want to go because Santa wasn’t real. My mother made me go because my little brother, two years younger, still was starry-eyed over the white-bearded gnome. Of course, somewhere along the line I blurted out to my brother that Santa didn’t exist and my mother was not pleased with me.
But she shouldn’t have made me go to see the fake. I think if a picture still exists of me on Santa’s lap it shows a sullen child. My little brother probably went first and then me. As I’m sitting on Santa’s lap and he asks me what I want for Christmas I notice the fake beard, and sticking out of it near his lip is a tag that says “Made in Hong Kong.” That cemented the truth for me, that Santa was an impostor.
Many years later, Santa has morphed. He was of course a very Victorian image (though versions of Kris Kringle, Sinter Klaus, Pere Noel, etc. existed before that) and was hugely popularized in North America by that American institution Coca-Cola. He was first commercialized (and fattened up) in 1931, and he’s never looked back since. Santa keeps changing and just as there is the summer flash mob that forms around a zombie walk, there are the winter flash mobs of Santas that swarm the streets, sometimes passing out candy and kisses and stopping in every alcoholic watering hole they can find.
I once ran into the flashmob Santas, from skinny to fat, tall to short, male and female. A few elves were along as well. It was fun and just brought a smile to my face. Unfortunately this year I had a previous engagement; otherwise I would have been romping with the Santas. And these days, do I believe in Santa? Well, I think I believe in the spirit of giving, for joy and fun but not because you must or it’s expected. And certainly not with a price tag that says, oh you didn’t love me enough because you only spent $20 not $80 on me. If I could I would give more including donations to charity as I found it gave me a profound sense of goodwill when I did.
But as for ho ho ho, Australia and all you other politically correct Nazis, loosen up. Ho ho ho could be ha ha ha or hee hee hee or even hardy har har. It’s the sound of laughter, which obviously those places in Australia forgot.