Christmas

So This Is (Your Annual War on) Christmas

Maybe Santa should just put everybody on the 'naughty' list and be done with it.

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Syrian refugee with Christmas Chocolate
Swen Pfrtner/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone by now. Memories of oppressive Black Friday crowds (or the social signaling from those who refuse to participate) are fading. The Christmas holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes all the news hooks from people being just stupid about it all.

Welcome to another viral outrage Christmas, full of media stories about how the tidings of comfort and joy are cultural appropriation, or colonialization, or denials of the glory of Christ (the reason for the season!), or bad for children's psychological development, or in some other fashion not being observed the way it ought to be.

Let's take a look at what's on the menu just today. It's too soon to say whether this may end up being a recurring feature across the month, but all these stories bouncing around all at once already suggests the culture war has something important to say about egg nog and candy canes.

The Myth of Santa Claus May Cause Kids to Distrust Adults. So … What's the Downside?

If CBS wants to pay to read some British psychologist muse in the pages of Lancet Psychiatry over whether it's wrong to lie to children about the existence of Santa Claus, more power to them. I'll politely decline and draw from their reporting.

What does researcher Christopher Boyle think is the problem? When kids find out the truth, it challenges their perception of their parents as the ultimate omniscient narrators of how the universe works:

The paper, entitled "A wonderful lie," suggests that children's trust in their parents may be undermined by the Santa myth.

"If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?" the researchers write. "If adults have been lying about Santa, even though it has usually been well intentioned, what else is a lie? If Santa isn't real, are fairies real? Is magic? Is God?"

For psychologist Christopher Boyle, a professor at the University of Exeter in the U.K., one of the authors of the paper, the "morality of making children believe in such myths has to be questioned."

"All children will eventually find out they've been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they've been told," he said in a statement. "Whether it's right to make children believe in Father Christmas is an interesting question, and it's also interesting to ask whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered."

God, just imagine if the kids grow up and start questioning other things they're told by authority figures! Just think what terrible, terrible outcomes those would be!

Surely Somebody on Twitter Must Be Offended by Black Santa!

Mall of America in Minneapolis has a black Santa Claus for the very first time this year, the result of a lengthy search for a "diverse St. Nicholas that kids of color would relate to," according to the Star Tribune.

They tracked down Larry Jefferson, who will be at the mall for four days before heading back to the Texas to play black Santa down there. Yes, see, it turns out that Jefferson has been playing Santa Claus since 1999 for kids and it's no big deal. It's easy to see why the Star Tribune would want to report on the first appearance of a non-white Santa in its major mall, but the story for some reason has gone national.

I suppose it would be cynical and unseasonably mean of me to wonder if there are other media folks combing the Twittersphere looking for four or five random people to express outrage that Santa is not white in order to write a piece about angry racists?

Sure enough, it turns out the Star Tribune has turned comments off on the story, though the Daily Dot was unable to determine whether there were any comments offensive enough to mandate such a measure. People's responses on Facebook tend to be telegraphing their own ideas about what the "other side" is going to say about the Santa Claus rather than their own opinions.

Your Gigantic Door Santa Is Triggering Me

Outrage is also the order of the day at the Hillsboro School District in Oregon. In previous years, apparently some educators or classes went a bit overboard with Christmas-themed door decorations as part of a competition. This, according to the district's human resources department, led to complaints. From a district memo: "we had some staff members and visitors to our building indicate that they were uncomfortable and didn't feel welcome due to the overwhelming Christmas atmosphere that had been created."

So they canceled the competition entirely. They did not ban door decorating, but did advise schools to try to be inclusive with their holiday representations and not overwhelm with images of Santa Claus. At least, that's what the school district says they did. But the portion of a memo that made it out to the press read:

"You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus."

That kinda sounds like a ban.

Here's Why Your Company Might Never Have Another Christmas Party Ever Again

Every human resources department and company "risk assessment" legal team is going to be reading the one-year-later reports coming out now about the Muslim terrorist couple who killed 14 people at a holiday party last December in San Bernardino, California.

The latest reports indicate the couple was offended when the husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, was required to attend a work training session and event that had been dolled up with Christmas decorations back in 2014. Farook's wife (and partner in the attack), Tashfeen Malik, posted on social media that she didn't think Muslims should have to participate in such an event.

It should go without saying (he said, before saying it anyway) that it's absurd to think that a holiday party actually triggered a desire to kill people. Nobody is actually saying that, and police are not declaring that this was their actual motive. This is information coming out of the investigation trying to figure out exactly why the couple became radicalized (recall that Farook was an American citizen born in the United States to parents who had come here from Pakistan).

Nevertheless, this violence is undoubtedly going into the "case study" file for every company human resources or legal department when developing policies and procedures for having parties. While I doubt many people are actually genuinely afraid that this sort of violence is going to be repeated in their own workplaces, just imagine how many times the word "liability" is going to be thrown around in internal memos.

NEXT: Al Gore Wouldn't Have Invaded Iraq, Third Parties are a Threat to Democracy, and Other New York Times Delusions

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  1. “The Myth of Santa Claus May Cause Kids to Distrust Adults. So ? What’s the Downside?”

    I can’t think of any. Also, kids sort of like to pretend and stuff, so where’s the harm? It’s fun for the kids and at the same time they learn to not believe everything most things that people tell them. WIN/WIN.

    1. What if libertarian parents tell kids to distrust authority?

      1. If the first sentence a kid says is not ”Fuck you, cut spending”, then someone is doing it wrong.

        1. “Fuck off slavers ” and “Taxation is theft” are also acceptable

        2. My now 4 year olds first sentence was Santa is a douchebag.

          Which, he really is in Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

    2. We are not doing Santa is real with our toddler, although she is still too young for it to matter right now. The harm is you are lying and tricking your kid, and some kids are really bothered by that when they find out (my wife was). Pretending is different than lying. We are raising her to be a critical thinker and think for herself. If I want to her to learn that people lie a lot I’ll just have her listen to some politicians and then talk about it together.

      1. Mr. Rogers called his fantasyland the Land of Make Believe, to avoid the possibility the kids would think it was real.

        It was a fairly lame fantasy, except lady Elaine.

    3. Let’s enlist Muslim ladies in defense of Santa Claus:

      What better Burqa Ban workaround than St. Nick headgear with a full beard and reindeer goggles?

  2. So I see the burqinha with the Santa. So have the Muslims declared Santa:

    a. False God

    b. Infidel

    c. Minor prophet

    d. George Bush

    1. e. All of the above?

  3. Hmmmm…. The Lancet.

    Sounds familiar somehow.

    1. Home of the Berkely Free Speech movement?

  4. Pro tip. If you can’t fix a string of lights in 5 minutes, stop. They’re not that expensive. Throw it away or keep for the bulbs. Mark it if you keep it so you don’t waste time on it next year.

    1. It is getting harder to find new strings of incandescent lights, especially the good C7 ones. Mini lights have their place, but I want big ones on the tree.
      I just can’t stand the light from the LED ones.

      1. We love the LEDs, we’ve also replaced every light in the house with them.

        1. Ugh. There’s just something about the light. I’m sure they can make them better, but the ones I’ve seen are just too bright, or have too specific frequencies or something. I just don’t like it. For something purely decorative that has a lot to do with tradition and sentimental attachments, I want it to look like what it has always looked like.

          1. Candles?

        2. I love the LED’s. I do the lights for my in-laws house, and they think it is awesome because I have completely covered their house and roof with lights. They are so easy to string together. They get their lights put up first on their block (Thanksgiving Day), and they have the brightest house on the block.

          Im a good son in law 😉

          1. Hmm. I’m starting to think that maybe I hate the LEDs for the same reason other people like them.

    2. Buy LEDs, never replace little fucking bulbs again.

      1. I’ll keep that in mind for next year.

    3. Just hang it up tangled. Then, after the SO complains, feign ignorance that anything is wrong.

      Then you’ll never have to deal with Christmas lights again.

      1. I used this strategy for laundry. One bad load and I never had to do it again.

        1. I use this strategy in my sex life.

      2. This is why I get out of doing any decorating of the house for the holidays. If I do anything, wife will say I did it wrong, do it over. WIN/WIN.

      3. I love this time of year. The wife finally stops bugging me to take down the outdoor Christmas lights.

    4. “Pro tip. If you can’t fix a string of lights in 5 minutes, stop.”

      About 5 or 6 years ago, I started wrapping the lights around one of those plastic cutting board with the handle cutout. Do this as you take ’em off the tree and tape the plug to the board. Can’t miss.

  5. Are there really many kids who are upset at the Santa lie?

    I know that at some point I believed in Santa Claus and that by the time I was 10 or so I definitely didn’t. But I have no recollection of any sudden shift between those two states of affairs. I think it was more of a gradually increasing skepticism. I suspect that’s how it works for most kids. Though I do have one friend who recalls being really upset when his older sister spoiled it for him and showed him where all the presents from Santa were hidden.

    And yeah, realizing that your parents aren’t always right or completely honest with you is a pretty important thing for kids to learn.

    1. Let’s put it this way. When I was growing up, I don’t know even one kid who was not told this lie, along with many others, such as Stork, Easter Bunny, etc, etc. I don’t see any reason to suspect that it affected anyone in any way. You come to the conclusion, eventually (typically when a bigger kid tells you Santa isn’t real for their own sadistic pleasure) get over it, and life goes on.

      1. Of course every kid was told that. And many never outgrew their belief in Santa: e.g. the number of people who voted for Hillary, Bernie, The Donald, Obama, Bush, etc. etc.

    2. I sent my next door neighbor home crying when I told him that Santa Claus was as fake as the WWF. The poor kid went home crying because he hadn’t figured out that both were fake. Bad day for him but last I heard he was doing fine and was an engineer and not some street junkie.

      1. Wait, the WWF was fake? But Mid-South Wrestling was real, right?

  6. Uh, Santa was Judaean. Therefore he should have dark skin, a broad nose and short, dark hair and a short beard. The Europeanization of Santa makes me sick.

    1. If Santa looked like that, all the malls would be on lock down.

    2. No, Santa was Greco-Turkish.

      But other than that, yeah.

      1. Saint Nick was a goddamn white man, and anyone who says otherwise can get the fuck out of my country.

        1. I hate to break it to you, but Nick Gillespie is Irish.

          Well, Irish and Italian.

          So, basically, an octoroon.

        2. I’m no expert on this, but I believe that Greek and Turkish Christians are generally considered “white” by the progressive racial classification system. If they are Muslim, then that probably overrides the “white” classification.

          (I should note that the progressive classification system seems to have quite a bit in common with a racial classification system in common use in Germany in the 1930s.)

    3. My wife has photos of her and her brother as little kids in Hong Kong, sitting on “Santa’s” lap at the mall. He’s a skinny, dark-skinned Chinese Santa. Still has a fake white beard, though.

    4. Judaeans’ hair doesn’t grow or turn grey?

      1. What are you? An anti-Semite?

  7. “Mall of America in Minneapolis has a black Santa Claus for the very first time this year, the result of a lengthy search for a “diverse St. Nicholas that kids of color would relate to”, according to the Star-Tribune.”

        1. as *if* I had to say that

    1. Black Santa at mall: Yo, what you want for Christmas little boy?

      Kid: Umm, I want, I want…

      Black Santa at mall: What, you wasting my time kid, what you want!? What about some fine bitch with a rockin bootay?

      Kid: Umm, I …

      Black Santa at mall: *chugs from 40 of malt liquor* I ain’t got time for this shit, kid! Sides, I got that fine bitch waitin in my ride! Get out of here fore I pull my piece and shoot out your eye!

      1. “I got that fine bitch waitin in my ride!”

        Wait, does that mean one of the reindeer?

    2. Larry Jefferson, the black Santa, is not “diverse” in his color. He is black. A group of Santas of which he is a member may be diverse, but he, himself is a single color. Unless he has vitiligo, which I don’t think he does.

  8. Enjoy it while it lasts cucks. Once Daddy is sworn in, everyone will be required to begin and end every conversation with Merry Christmas between November 1st and January 1st if they want to keep their citizenship.

    1. He basically made that campaign promise at this time last year, no?

        1. About time we got some good leadership in this place !!!

  9. The black Santa thing reminds me of an episode of All in the Family where Archie and George Jefferson were arguing about whether Santa was white or black. In another episode(one of my favorites) they argued about whether God was white or black. Later, Archie got locked in his basement during winter. While looking for blankets he found some booze and got hammered. When he thought he was going to freeze to death he prayed for God to let him out of the basement. A black guy was walking by his house heard him and went inside and unlocked the door. When he came down the steps Archie got on his knees and said “I’m sorry Lord. The Jefferson’s was right!”

    I think they should play that show in every microaggression class at colleges. I’ve never seen a 19 year old have a stroke.

  10. Show me a SJW and i’ll show you a fucking wanker that no one wants to be around – ever.

    1. Nobody goes there anymore, too crowded.

  11. People’s responses on Facebook everywhere to everything tend to be telegraphing their own ideas about what the “other side” is going to say about the Santa Claus rather than their own opinions.

    Us vs Them, Santa-style.

    1. And the cups are green this year, not red. Looks like someone is trying to pretend they are not a commie now that Trump is in charge.

      1. No, they are still International Jew Commie Red, as this brilliant ‘fuck you’ to Trumplandia by Starbucks shows (Click the video).

        1. Oh. I wouldn’t actually know, because I’m a right-thinking, drip-coffee drinking working man who would never step foot in a Starbucks.

          1. And you say Grace before taking your first sip, right?

          2. Fuck Starbucks and there over priced crap.
            Maxwell House tastes better.

    2. The cups are red this year and coated with Christmas/winter kitsch.

      And they did that plain cup ONCE.

      And the ‘hissy fit’ was created by an internet troll.

      1. dead threading.

        this is what happens when you don’t pay attention on Monday mornings

  12. For psychologist Christopher Boyle, a professor at the University of Exeter in the U.K., one of the authors of the paper, the “morality of making children believe in such myths has to be questioned.”

    I always wonder just how many of these learned pontificators on The Children have laid eyes on an actual child recently. You know, ballpark it – round to the nearest decade how long it’s been.

    I don’t Google because then you find the ones who do have kids, and my good gravy, they are worse.

  13. If CBS wants to pay to read some British psychologist muse in the pages of Lancet Psychiatry over whether it’s wrong to lie to children about the existence of Santa Claus, more power to them. I’ll politely decline and draw from their reporting.

    Dude, it was 1 Google link away on his Researchgate page.

  14. Dammit where is the love for the alt-text? That was gold, frankincense and myrrh!

  15. I’m looking forward to gender equity Santa. Finally a reason to go sit on Santa’s lap!

  16. I don’t care what anyone says Shackford, with that alt-text you are alright by me.

  17. I actually read a news story arguing that Farook was, indeed, triggered by the Christmas party thing. Basically their causality went like this:

    “Farook shows up at a mandatory training meeting where Christmas decorations are hanging. He leaves early. He comes back 30 minutes later shooting the place up.” Clearly it was the Christmas tree that set him off, right? Not spending years talking to his wife specifically about jihad?

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  23. Black Santa is OK, but what if Shaft was white? Or even Mexican?

    See, we have to consistent here. If black Santa is empowering, then you can’t complain about cultural appropriation.

  24. Why is there a ninja holding Santa candy?

  25. “It should go without saying (he said, before saying it anyway) that it’s absurd to think that a holiday party actually triggered a desire to kill people.”

    Really, not even a little bit? NONE at all?

    When Muslims in Europe carry signs advocating death to those who “insult Islam” whose to say that our American followers of the “religion of peace” couldn’t find having to endure Christmas decorations as a reason to kill their fellow workers.

    But then I don’t follow the opinion that the motivations of Muslims around the world to kill is really all that mysterious.

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  27. The “war on Christmas” is stupid for many reasons. Christmas is a made up holiday – a bunch of pagan traditions were packed up and “Christianized”. The three wise men were not kings, they were astronomers. Some Nativity scenes include the three wise men – it’s just marketing. They did not (according to the gospels) visit Jesus and his parents in the stable – they found the family later, when they were in a house and Jesus was a young child – not a newborn.

    It’s fine to enjoy family time, giving gifts, and honoring the birth of Jesus if that’s what floats your boat. I find it amusing that some Muslims are offended by Christmas – since it’s so obviously detached from any bible teachings. Christmas trees, mistletoe, Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nose rein deer, feasts, December 25th …..all cultural traditions – not religious in the least.

    Is refusing to participate in Black Friday social signaling? I suppose it could be – but how or when or if I do any Christmas shopping does not routinely come up in conversation with my friends, colleagues, or peers. I choose not to participate because to do otherwise would be stupid, exhausting, and stressful — and I see no reason to share those thoughts with my friends Maybe if I was younger and had kids, I’d have a different take – or at least be more likely to be dragged in to conversations about Black Friday.

    Happy shopping. Do something nice for somebody less fortunate — that’s the best part of the Christmas tradition.

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