The winter solstice is upon us. Time to be with friends and family, to eat, drink and be merry, to give thanks for another joyous year on Planet Earth, and to watch a lot of football.
Once upon a time, three wise men traveled from the east, following a bright star, and wound up in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem. There they presented a newly born baby with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh -- once again proving that men have no clue when it comes to purchasing Christmas presents.
Gold is a heavy metal, frankincense is a liquid fragrance used in embalming and myrrh is a pungent resin that comes from a gum tree. There is no child on this planet that yearns for stationary metal objects, delicate fragrances or pungent resins. They'd rather play with the box it came in.
If it had been three wise women instead, they would have asked for directions along the way and arrived early. Then they would have helped with the delivery, had a potluck dinner and cleaned up the stable afterwards. And the gifts would have been more practical, such as a blanket, a pair of booties and a box of Huggies.
* * *
The three stages of man are:
1) He believes in Santa Claus.
2) He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.
3) He is Santa Claus.
* * *
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for a burglar named Dwight.
“Santa Claus is watching you,” said a voice from the corner of the room.
The burglar froze. He shined his flashlight everywhere but saw no one. Cautiously, he took another step.
“Santa Claus is watching you,” the voice said again.
Suddenly, Dwight spotted a parrot sitting on a perch in the far corner of the room.
“What’s your name?” Dwight asked the parrot.
“Santa’s Helper,” the parrot said.
“What sort of idiot would name a parrot Santa’s Helper?” asked the burglar.
“The same sort of idiot that would name a 190-pound pit bull Santa Claus,” the parrot told him.
* * *
Once upon a time, a perfect man and a perfect woman met. After a perfect courtship, they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was, of course, perfect.
One Christmas Eve, this perfect couple was driving their perfect car along a winding road, when they noticed someone at the side of the road in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help.
There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys. Not wanting to disappoint any children on Christmas Eve, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their vehicle.
Soon, they were driving along delivering the toys.
Unfortunately, driving conditions deteriorated whereupon the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident.
Only one of them survived the accident.
QUESTION: Who was the survivor?
ANSWER: The perfect woman survived. She’s the only one who really existed in the first place. Everyone knows there is no Santa Claus and there is no such thing as a perfect man.
So, if there is no Santa Claus and no perfect man, the woman must have been driving. This would explain why there was an accident.
* * *
Santa Claus has a different persona in the Redneck South where he's known as Billy Bob Claus.
Santa Claus is a fat guy with a beard wearing a bright red suit -- Billy Bob Claus is a fat guy with a beard wearing camouflage.
Santa Claus says, "Ho, ho, ho." -- Billy Bob Claus hollers, "Yee haw."
Kids leave cookies and milk out for Santa Claus -- kids leave Slim Jims and a Bud out for Billy Bob Claus.
Santa Claus rides in a sleigh with bells -- Billy Bob Claus rides in a Dodge pickup with a gun rack.
Santa Claus has reindeer pulling his sleigh -- Billy Bob Claus has a deer mounted on his wall.
Santa Claus always lands on rooftops -- Billy Bob Claus sometimes lands in a ditch.
Santa Claus slides down chimneys to get inside -- Billy Bob Claus uses a crowbar.
* * *
Republicans became Republicans when they stopped believing in Santa Claus. -- Democrats became Democrats because they never stopped believing in Santa Claus.
There will be no nativity display scenes in public view in Washington D.C. this holiday season. They were unable to find three wise men and a virgin in the nation's capitol, although there were plenty of jackasses to fill the stable.
Christmas is like any other day at the office. You do all the work and some fat guy in a suit gets all the credit.
* * *
Myths die hard -- we need them to overcome the paranoia of the narrow confines of our perceived reality.
Christmas, like many other holidays, has its share of historical inaccuracies and myths.
For example, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was not one of Santa’s reindeer and didn’t live on the North Pole.
In fact, he was invented in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward department stores, as a promotional gimmick. By 1946, a total of 6 million copies of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer booklet had been distributed to Montgomery Ward customers.
May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and music for a Rudolph song which was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. The song sold 2 million copies that year alone and went on to become the second best-selling record of all time, second only to “White Christmas.”
However, May’s original story differs from the song lyrics.
According to May, Rudolph lived in an ordinary reindeer village considerably south of the North Pole. Even though he was taunted for having a shiny red nose, his parents were not embarrassed. They brought Rudolph up in a loving home and gave him a high sense of self-esteem.
Santa delivered presents to their house one night during a thick fog. Impressed by the glow of Rudolph’s shiny red nose, Santa chose him to lead his team of reindeer to complete his rounds.
This brings to mind other Christmas myths.
MYTH #1 -- Santa Claus is a fat man in a red suit.
- Not true.
- He's fairly thin and usually wears boxer shorts with a tank top around the house.
- He just dons multiple layers of clothing to keep warm in late December, when zipping around the night sky in an open sleigh.
- Santa’s delivery outfit is bright red to protect him from trigger-happy sportsmen – he doesn’t want to be mistaken for a flock of geese.
MYTH #2 -- Santa Claus lives at the North Pole.
- Not true.
- He lives in Canada, halfway between Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw.
- The North Pole is a large block of ice, populated by three polar bears and a wayward penguin.
- Canada is a lot like the North Pole – it's cold and nobody ever goes there.
MYTH #3 – Santa has a bunch of little helpers called elves.
- Not true.
- They're mostly vertically-challenged (short) Swedes.
MYTH #4 -- Santa Claus climbs down chimneys to deliver his presents.
- No longer true.
- He once did climb down chimneys but got stuck several times in Colorado where legislation in 1969 required all chimneys to contain filters.
- In 1970, Santa reverted to using doors and windows, but he was busted in 1972 in Hackensack, New Jersey, for breaking and entering.
- Ever since then, Santa has used the Star Trek method of teleportation whereby his molecular structure is disassembled on the rooftop and reassembled directly in front of the Christmas tree.
- This way he's guilty only of entering but not of breaking, usually a misdemeanor in most places.
MYTH #5 – Santa Claus likes to have some cookies and milk waiting for his arrival.
- No longer true.
- In 1983, he developed a gastrointestinal infection while hovering over Thailand.
- Too much curry, causing a bad case of diarrhea, which can be quite a dilemma while flying through the air in an open sleigh.
MYTH #6 – Kids will get presents that reflect the latest craze.
- Not true.
- There is no latest craze.
- Remember Cabbage Patch dolls, Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles and Tickle-Me Elmo? They were the latest craze for about fifteen minutes.
- By the time the kids open presents, the latest craze will become a closet relic.
- If you want to give your kids a gift that has some worth, give them something that will get them out of the house, like a bicycle or a chainsaw.
MYTH #7 – Santa knows who has been naughty and nice.
- Not true.
- That's the CIA, FBI, NSA, NWO, DEA, IRS, ATF, CFR, KGB, MI6, MJ12 and the Jehovah Witnesses who are keeping tabs on everyone.
- Santa has enough to do without spying on you.
MYTH #8 – Santa’s reindeer are named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.
- Not True.
- Those are only nicknames to make it easier to come up with Christmas jingles.
- Their real names are Clark Kent, Fox Mulder, Harry Potter, Joe Sixpack, Elmer Fudd, Snoop Dogg, The Donald and Cher.
Quote for the Day – "Christmas isn't a season -- it's a feeling." Edna Ferber
Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and the Ghost of Christmas Past.