From Black Friday to Black Santa, It's Time for Our Annual Holiday Freakout

There are good reasons to be annoyed during the holidays. Maybe you hate your family but feel obligated to stare blankly at them for a few hours every December. Maybe you have to work when everyone else is tweeting about how wonderful it is to have two weeks off for Christmas. Maybe you're just a lousy old grump who hasn't learned the meaning of Christmas from three ghosts that visit you in the night and a little kid with a messed up leg. Who knows your reasons, but you've got them and you're not alone.

It seems America's annual time to complain about everything from Christmas music to the crowds at the malls -- as if either are any different from last year -- is upon us, but there are some additional goings on that merit mentioning, either for their ridiculous nature or simply because WTF?

Stealing Christmas

Every year there are tales of people losing their houses in fires from faulty Christmas lights, people who get loot stolen out of their car in the discount store parking lot and even a few poor families who get robbed just before it's time to open presents. But, this year, there are a couple of very unique cases of criminals taking particular advantage.

First, there is the man in Austin caught on tape sauntering up to houses and walking off with packages left on the porch...in broad daylight...WHILE DRIVING A VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE! There have been several cases of this sort of thing this year and what seems to puzzle news reporters is the casual nature with which they walked off with the packages. What are they supposed to do, go Bluto from Animal House?

Then there is the woman -- news people love to make Grinch comparisons, but this case is actually apt -- who stole decorations from houses in a northern Texas town and then re-sold them to other people. She was sentenced this month to 70 years in prison. She had already spent time in the joint for assault and a murder-for-hire plot. If anyone needs some holiday cheer, it's this lady. Maybe they'll let her decorate her cell. Is that you, Santa Claus?

And just when you thought things hadn't gotten weird enough, there is the whole debate on whether or not Santa is white. First, it was Fox News's Megyn Kelly who jumped into the fray with a number of other pundits discussing political correctness at the holidays and how, no, Virgina, there isn't a real black Santa Claus.

Kelly tried to point out that St. Nicholas, the man who the character was based on, was clearly white, but of course that isn't actually true either (scientists believe he was probably olive-complected thanks to his ancestry in what is modern-day Turkey). She then went on to talk about Jesus being white as if we needed to tie Santa and Jesus into the same nice little ribbon of crazy. Oh, but Kelly was just kidding. Uh huh.

This would simply be funny -- ask Jon Stewart whose correspondent put it succinctly, "t's Miracle of 34th Street not Miracle on 134th Street." -- if it weren't for the teacher in New Mexico (naturally) who told a black student he could not dress as Kris Kringle because he is black and Santa, well, isn't. Did we mention the student suffers from autism? Ho ho ho!

The Reason for the Season

While I'm on the topic, there is this consistent drive to keep the holidays from being stolen from Jesus, as if he couldn't defend himself. From "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper stickers -- literally the least you can do to support the cause -- to rants by pundits and religious folk, there is a real concern that Christmas is just not Jesus-y enough. After all, with such an important religious holiday, why shouldn't that be the focus?

Well, perhaps it's that the birth of Jesus didn't actually occur in December. It was conveniently moved there to balance the church calendar year...or completely co-opt the Winter Solstice celebration from the pagans. Either or.

What I'm saying here is that, with all the supposed joy of the season, must we really debate Black Santa or the birth of Jesus? Do we have to rob and steal from one another or trample a fool in Walmart for the last flat screen TV? Even the damn Grinch's heart grew three sizes. That little tree on Charlie Brown wasn't so bad after all. George Bailey was the luckiest man in town. Hell, even those people in the freaking Folgers commercials look like the happiest people on earth and they haven't even had their coffee yet!

You would think, with as much cheer that is thrown at us from every corner of the world during the holidays, we could suck it up for a month and not act like assholes. Then again, maybe not.

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