Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Why is Old St. Nick so jolly?

Wick's World


I had an after work discussion with Santa last night; the one who is staying in my basement for the 42 days before Christmas. The talk turned to drunken Santas. Make note that the Santa impersonator and long-time friend of mine is a sober, highly respected look-alike Santa in real life, no costume necessary. I went through my Santa archives looking for articles pertaining to the drinking habits of on-duty Santa Clauses and surprisingly discovered that I had saved some information coming out of New Zealand and Great Britain in 2006.

The first clue as to why Santa Claus is always portrayed with a big, shiny red nose (Santas drink more fortified wine than any other wino) came to me as I was reading an article in the Blomberg News about an interview with a movie theater owner in Christchurch, New Zealand. On December 22, up to 50 people dressed up as Jolly Old St. Nick went on a rampage through a local theater tearing down posters, shoving families and scaring local movie patrons. The Santas, with beer bottles in hand, ran screaming and shouting vulgarities as they invaded the theater and downtown area. Although the group was made up of both males and females, according to theater manager Derek Rive, “None were identified because of their red hats and white curly beards." Police said the drunken crowd of cloned Santas appeared to be made up of local students out for a night of partying.

If you had the chance to see Billy Bob Thornton a few years ago in the low rent, B-grade movie “Bad Santa,” then you already know that even Santa Claus can stoop to a level lower than the South Pole. Of course, it’s not Santa Claus himself that is responsible for the drunken debauchery — just some idiots with a warped view of the holiday season.

In Great Britain, holiday revelry starts a full two weeks before Christmas and continues right on up to the New Year. The “infamous British office party” has become so predictable that authorities now pitch a hospital tent at the train station in central London to patch up all the sick and injured drunks. According to one company manager, “Massive booze consumption leads to fist fights, firings and spur of the moment indiscretions in boardrooms and parking lots. Christmas in Great Britain is equivalent to New Year's in New York City, except the binges run nightly for two weeks.” A special medical vehicle with room for five revelers patrols the street of London looking for those too inebriated to survive the holiday. It is aptly named the Booze Bus or often called the Vomit Comet.

Due to lawsuits, many companies have moved their office parties to rented palaces, country estates and tourist landmarks such as the London Aquarium (have we at last found a money-making use for the Duluth Aquarium?), while less wealthy companies use local pubs and restaurants for the holiday revelry. This year’s parties feature acrobats and Moroccan themes, champagne fountains and live bands, although I can’t figure out how the heck this honors the birthday of the savior of the modern world.

The holiday entertainment doesn’t fade away quickly. It seems that in England all those drunken Santas and loose office workers dominate talk radio and the internet blogs well past the New Year, sharing humiliating tales about their holiday experiences at the office party and elsewhere. Many of the comments continue along the line of spoofing Santa and debauching the holiday season, such as this one that states, “As if we need another reason to hate Santa Claus, he still hasn’t owned up to his alcohol problem. We used to think the red nose was cute; now we see it as a sign of a deeper problem.”

However, despite all the fun and games, hangovers and infidelities and the disrespect for dear old Santa, many people agree with the blogger who wrote, “This is nothing but a disgusting mockery of Jesus' birthday.”

Maybe the so-called “War on Christmas” advocates should focus on the degenerate battlefields abroad that mock both Jesus and Santa. Their revelers make Americans look like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

While you’re at it, let’s show some respect for not only Jesus and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, but all the other spiritual leaders and mythological characters of all faiths around the world during this holiday season.

Have a safe, fun and reasonably sober holiday!


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