The Dead Santa (and Other Seasonal Faux Pas)

My neighborhood (not unlike yours) has an interesting array of seasonal decorations dispersed among the homes surrounding my own. The most popular of these (aside from the colored lights) are the blow up Santas. There seems to be one particular model that has captured most folk’s fancies this year (which means they were probably on sale at Costco). Consequently, there are several of them scattered across the local hood.

These babies are gassed by electric air pumps that keep them inflated. Since most people put their lights (and, subsequently, their Santas) on electrical timers, the lights go out by dawn’s early light. This causes a disconcerting trend that I’d like to denounce at this time.

An Inordinant Amount of Dead Santas

Upon rising each morning, I look out across my neighborhood from the vantage point of my second story bedroom window. What to my wandering eyes should appear but an inordinate amount of dead Santas (at least, they look dead). Deflated, red-suited, elfin types are all over the region. It’s more than disturbing.

Our neighborhood is full of children. Seeing several dead Santas on their way to school has to have an indelible, psychological scarring effect on the poor little tykes. As for me, these deflatables look like so much trash littering the landscape. Such a seasonal faux pas cannot be ignored.

This just adds to the many faux pas we see and hear this time of year. For example: who are the “three kings” of carol fame? If you check Scripture you’ll find that not only weren’t they kings, there is no mention of how many there were numerically.

Still, we sing about three kings and put them in the manger scene—which is another gross faux pas. These guys wouldn’t have been at the manger, and yet, when was the last time you saw the baby Jesus unattended by the “kings” from the east? My own church has them out front as I write this little missive. Oh, the shame of it all.

But, it gets worse. For example: Jesus was quite probably NOT born on December 25. We don’t know the exact date, but the telltale Biblical clues do not point in that direction—more likely a springtime natal event.

Mistletoe to Make Things Bright?

Then there’s the mistletoe. What a lovely, romantic tradition—getting kissed and all. But the origins of this practice were not amorous in any way. It was to keep you from being killed. Who knew?

There are myriads of these seasonal faux pas. You can actually find them all over the web. And, of course, if it’s on the web, it has to be true. Here’s one final one to make your spirit bright.

Santa is not actually a Nordic type. He was from Turkey. His name was Nikolaos of Myra, and I doubt he wore a red suit. The New York Dutchmen called him Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). And now the poor guy has died a thousand deaths (all over my neighborhood).

Aren’t you glad you didn’t know these things BEFORE December 25?

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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