Let's face it: There are a few times during the holiday season when Santa comes out of things looking like a man whose name ought to be at the top of his own Naughty List.
The primary blot in his copybook comes from the movie Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which is one of the worst movies, like, ever. My family, including my parents and brother, is well aware of my disdain for this holiday blight, which includes Rudolf being mercilessly bullied for being different and then being shunned from the reindeer games by none other than one of Santa's Famous Eight. This leads Rudolf to run away from home and I feel that we're all lucky that we were spared scenes of Rudolf's selling himself for drug money on the corner of North Pole Boulevard and Snow Street. Just when you think it couldn't be worse (because of an abominable snowman's having his teeth wrenched out of his head without any apparent use of anesthetics), Santa appears on the scene when it looks as if Christmas will have to be canceled because of poor visibilty for low-flying aircraft. He proceeds to make use of Rudolf in an arrogant way that I find appalling. Yes, Rudolf, we banned you from the reindeer games because of your repulsive nose, but now that it turns out we need to light our way through the snowy skies, please feel free to let me harness you to my sleigh. Giddy-yup.
I watch the movie every other year or so, complaining bitterly through the whole thing, but holding out that small shred of hope that Rudolf will say with dignity, "Santa, your hypocrisy astounds me. How you can look me in the eye after the way I've been treated requires a degree of boorishness that I simply can't fathom. Now, if you'll excuse us, Clarice and I will be leaving; we're moving to Greenland to start our own combination reindeer dairy and Christmas bulb factory. I give you good day, Santa. I said good day, sir!"
The other Christmas song that delivers an entire sack of coal to Santa's stocking is the classic "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." I found this song horrifying as a child; imagine, something as beautiful as shiny-wrapped gifts under a sparkling tree, tainted with your own mother's illicit love affair with the jolly old elf! I thought Santa was supposed to come to kids' houses to eat some sugar cookies and drink a glass of milk, not paw their mothers under the mistletoe. What kind of world is it when SANTA cheats on Mrs. Claus and gets a little somethin'-somethin' from your mom? How many moms is he doing this with, the nasty old pervert?
Does Santa keep a second list in addition to the well-known Naughty & Nice one? Is it a list of mommies who serve up something more tantalizing than cookies?
Eventually, of course, I realized that the "Santa" in question was actually the little boy's dad dressed up in a costume because the parents knew the little boogerhead was going to peek through the balusters on the staircase. It gave me a profound sense of relief and I was able to stop obsessively trying to compose the lyrics to a festive song I planned to call "I Saw Daddy Administering a Righteous Beatdown to Santa Claus, Right There On the Floor Underneath the Mistletoe."
Incidentally, I wonder if the cost of renting that Santa costume was worth the price of the therapy that kid no doubt had to undergo as an adult, all as the result of seeing Santa feeling up his mother. It's a shame, it really is.
Someday, if I work up the energy, I'll relate my thoughts about Tim Allen's vile movie The Santa Clause.
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