Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The War on Santa Claus

Here in my part of the world, a good many people like to use those inflatable Christmas yard decorations. They might put out inflatable reindeer, inflatable snowmen, or inflatable Santa Clauses.

I have yet to see an inflatable nativity scene—thank the Lord!

In my recent travels I have noted a sad sight: deflated inflatable Santas. I know that any of the inflatable yard ornaments could lose their air, but it seems to me that every time I see a deflated figure it is Santa Claus. And I have seen a good many of them.

I fear that the inflatable Santas are under attack. Could it be that enemies of
Santa Claus are attacking his image with air rifles or some other weapons? I fear that it is so. I hope that it is not.

Santa Claus is under attack in more significant ways. Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, the acting Surgeon General of the United States, recently said that Santa Claus should lose weight so as to provide a better role model for children. He told the Boston Herald, “It is really important that the people who kids look up to as role models are in good shape, eating well and getting exercise. It is absolutely critical.”

Such an attitude violates the spirit of one of the sacred texts of American Christmas celebrators:

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself….

Then there is that scene in the classic television program Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in which Mrs. Claus is trying to get Santa to eat because, she says, nobody wants a skinny Santa.

Now, I’ll admit that there is no need for Santa to be grossly obese. After all, the old fellow has been around for a long time and we don’t want to lose him anytime soon. Let’s just don’t expect him to be skinny.

The next thing you know, somebody will try to make a movie about Santa using an actor as skinny as Billy Bob Thornton. Oh wait, that’s right—but it wasn’t called Bad Santa for nothing!

The attack on Santa doesn’t end with the assault on his waistline.

Some folks are also trying to correct what they regard as the political incorrectness of his signature laugh. It has been reported that some of Santa’s department store representatives in Australia are being encouraged not to say “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Why? Are you ready for this? Because that might be offensive to women.

Seriously, now, would any women really suddenly start taking a phrase that Santa has been using for decades as an offensive statement addressed to them? I can see where someone might if Santa uttered the phrase while he pointed and leered at her as she walked by. But in a Santa context in which Santa says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” in the ordinary Santa Claus way? Surely not. No women I know—and I admit that my circle is pretty much limited to strong-willed, self-assured, thick-skinned, not looking to be offended, I don’t have time for this kind of silliness women—would take it that way.

In the movie Elf, Santa's sleigh can't fly because the world is so low on Christmas spirit. That's the risk we run, my friends, if we don't put an end to this foolishness. We who love Christmas must insist that this war on Santa Claus be stopped and stopped now!

Let Santa be chubby!

Let Santa bellow his jolly “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

And by all means, let the inflatable Santas live!

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