OPINION — Whenever someone asks me what my favorite Christmas movie is, I usually say Die Hard, because it’s funny to watch the shapes their faces make while they try to decide whether Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie, or just a movie set at Christmas, in which Bruce Willis shoots a bunch of large Europeans with Augs and funny accents. For the record, Die Hard IS a Christmas movie, but it’s not really my favorite. That would be A Christmas Story.
A Christmas Story is the tale of Ralphie, a little boy who grew up in Indiana in the 1950s. More than anything in the world Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and spends most of his time trying to figure out how to talk his parents into giving him one. Although he doesn’t really believe in Santa Claus, he decides to visit Santa at the local mall anyway, because why not? But when he tells Santa he wants a BB gun for Christmas, Santa tells him what pretty much everyone else has told him: You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
The scene works in the movie, but in reality Santa never says no to a kid. Doesn’t matter what a child asks for, it’s Santa’s job to smile and ho ho ho and go along. You want a pony, even though you live in a Dallas apartment the size of a walk-in closet? How about some hay and a trailer with that horse? A ten-year-old wants a 1967 Mustang GT500 with a 428 CobraJet engine? Check for a set of keys under the tree, son. A six-year-old girl wants to be a princess? How many diamonds would you like in that tiara? Santa is a fantasy that enables fantasies. It’s his job.
But a Santa at a mall in Norridge, Illinois recently went rogue. I guess it was bound to happen, sooner or later, and it was likely to happen in one of the communist states, of which Illinois is definitely at the top of the list. A little boy named Michael DiCarlo went to see Santa, and told him he wanted a Nerf gun for Christmas, and Woke Santa said, “No, no guns. Not even a Nerf gun.”
Well, Michael started crying, and his mom thought maybe Santa had misunderstood him, as if that could be an excuse. So she told Santa her son wanted a Nerf gun for Christmas, and Santa told her no, too. There’s a video. I kept expecting Alan Funt to appear, even though I’m pretty sure he died during the last Bush administration. The mall Santa didn’t even tell Michael he’d shoot his eye out, which would’ve been somewhat funny, to me at least. Not that you can shoot your eye out with a Nerf gun, but the reference to A Christmas Story would’ve been boss.
But I’m sorry to report that mall Santa isn’t the only Scrooge in the news lately. A St. Anthony, Minnesota resident recently got Humbugged by an anonymous fruitcake complaining about his Christmas lights. Not that the homeowner went Full Clark Griswald and threatened to deelectrify the town, or anything. It was a tasteful string of colored lights along the front eve of the house, and a lighted wreath above that. But it evidently offended one of the local delicate snowflakes.
The letter writer claimed the lights are ‘a reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society, a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.’ He said the lights caused a ‘harmful impact,’ and that the homeowner should ‘respect the dignity of all people.’ If you can imagine.
At first I thought the letter was a joke, and maybe it was, but I’m thinking not. It seems you can’t sling a cat without hitting some yahoo that thinks everyone should be including in everything all the time, or else no one should be allowed to do anything. The idea is that if someone doesn’t like what you do, you shouldn’t do it. Even something as innocuous as putting up a string of Christmas lights.
A similar thing happened in Michigan. The state’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, recently tweeted that her son was ‘devastated’ when a store employee greeted him with a friendly ‘Merry Christmas.’ To be honest, I think we can all see how that would be offensive, if you happen to say it to the most sensitive and fragile person on the planet, whose feelings probably get damaged when he sees a stop sign.
I’ve got an idea. If you want to celebrate Christmas, for whatever reason, you go right ahead. If you want to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to people, and decorate your home, and give gifts, and sing carols, and be a generally nice person, feel free. And if you don’t want to do those things, then don’t. Just don’t spoil it for everyone else. Grow up, act like an adult, and quit being so annoyingly whiny and pitiful. Because you’re getting on my nerves.
The good news is that the video of the woke, gun-hating mall Santa went viral, and he got sacked. Not only that, but Michael DiCarlo received hundreds of Nerf guns in the mail, and he’s busy handing those out to other kids in his area. I’m hoping they have a huge Nerf gun war, and someone sends me the video.
That will probably offend someone, and that person will probably cry, complain, and stomp their feet at all the Nerf violence. And if you happen to be that person, I’ve got a message for you:
Merry Christmas . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister with an immense amount of ‘don’t care’ if you’re offended by Christmas. Write to him at [email protected]