Children in countries around the world await a visit from a mysterious
bringer of gifts at Christmas time! We know him as Santa Claus!
Lets start with the US, because "we're #1!" What makes us #1?
Well for one thing, we've got the real Santa as popularized by
Coca-Cola advertising illustrator Haddon Sundblom in 1931. On
Christmas eve he comes down the chimney even if you don't have one,
fills your stockings with toys (Or coal if you've been naughty!) and
leaves more toys under the tree! He rides a sleigh drawn by the flying
reindeer named in the poem "The Night Before Christmas" plus Rudolph.
He lives at the North Pole with his wife, a bunch of elves and a
talking snowman and he almost has to 'cancel Christmas' every damn
year, but he always shows and he's fat and old and has a big white
beard and he wears a red suit with white trim. How do we know all this
is true? We're America, that's how, and if you don't like it we'll
beat the shit out of you! With bombs! Go team! But one of the
things that really makes us "the greatest country on earth" is
tolerance. So let's take a look at the many, many ways countries all
over the world get Santa wrong.
In Germany, Santa is known as Saint Nicholas. On December 5th – the
eve of his feast day - St. Nicholas goes from house to house with his
"Book of Sins". If a child's behavior has been robotically perfect all
year long, he or she will find a gift left in the shoe or boot they
are required to leave by the fireplace. If the good child lives in a
home without a fireplace, there is no place for them to correctly
place a shoe or boot and so no toy is left. All children who have
committed one or more infractions of behavior during the last year are
hauled from their beds and severely beaten with a wooden switch, or 'Christenspankenzer'.
The French call Santa 'Pere Noel' which in their language means
'Father Christmas', which is not Santa's name. French children leave
carrots and hay in their shoes for Pere Noel's reindeer, and in
return, once the fodder is eaten, Toys are left in its place. Pere
Noel comes twice, first on December sixth and then again on December
twenty-fourth, to satisfy traditional French greed. He travels with
Pre Fouettard, a stern disciplinarian who keeps track of which
children have been naughty and which have been nice. Pre Fouettard is
also Pere Noel's gay lover.
Babo Natale makes his way from house to house on Christmas Eve, but
this Jolly Old Pasta Swiller is only Italy's most recent and
derivative incarnation of Santa Claus. In days gone by, la Befana, the
Christmas Witch, left Boil Salve or Goat Curds in the shoes of good
little boys and girls on December Sixth. Earlier still, In the wee
hours of December twelfth, Gianni Pesto hid in the hallways of
children whose parents had failed to pay protection and knee capped
them on their way to the bathroom.
'Kleeschen' comes down from heaven (which I guess means he's dead,
which is kind of creepy) on the night of December 5th to fill the
shoes of the children who have placed them by their bedroom door (or
on the windowsill) in anticipation of his arrival. Little else is
known of 'Kleeschen', because Luxembourg is a country in the
same way that Rhode Island is a state.
In Syria, gifts are brought to good little children by The Smallest
Camel. The idea for this seasonal character came from the story of the
Nativity and the Three Wise Men who visited the Christ Child. Legend
has it that the smallest camel had a very hard time making the long
journey, but resolved to see it to its fruition, in spite of his
exhaustion. As a reward for his loyalty and strong desire to see the
Christ Child, he was granted immortality. Now, each year on the night
of January 5th, the littlest camel comes to bring gifts to God's
children. Syrians believe this because they are stupid.
Like Santa, Saint Basil comes down the chimney with a bag full of toys
for children who have been good all year. Unlike Santa, He doesn't
appear until the night before St. Basil's Day, which is celebrated on
January 1st, and he really, really enjoys anal sex.
I bet you thought I wouldn't make that joke.
Santa Kuhrosu is a jolly old man who carries a sack of cakes on his
back. He has eyes in the back of his head so he can monitor children's
behavior at all times and enjoys singing the Daiku, or Great Nine, an
acapella version of Beethoven's ninth symphony. The odd, disjointed
behavior of Santa Kuhrosu can be explained by the fact that only 1/2
of 1% of Japanese are Christians, and as such are a very small subset
of a people already just about as crazy as shithouse rats.
On December fifth, Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse. He is
accompanied by his Moorish bondsman, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). Festive
gifts are wrapped in Sinterklaas paper, or hidden in old socks or
potatoes and then hidden by Zwarte Piet while Sinterklaas barks orders
from his horse.
Prior to independence from the Netherlands in 1975, Sinterklaas, an
elderly white man, arrived by ship on December 5th. He rode a white
horse and had a retinue of Black servants. Since then, good little
boys and girls are visited on December sixth by Goedoe Pa, or 'Dearest
Daddy' a strapping Black Man who's sleigh is dragged by eight naked
On Christmas Eve don't be surprised if you get a visit from "Ol'
Mistah Sticky", a wandering, naked, toothless, hopelessly deranged,
stinking, incontinent old drunk covered in colorful sores and lichen.
Don't be surprised if you get a visit from him any night, really. It's
not like they have the tax base for social services.
In the early hours of December 5th, Sveti Nikola (or "Sweaty Old
Nick") leaves sweets in the polished shoes of Good Croatian Boys and
girls. He is accompanied by Krampus, a terrifying devil-like creature
who leaves golden twigs in the shoes of naughty boys and girls. The
bigger the twig, the worse the naughtiness. All children with twigs
found in their shoes are gathered together in the center of town where
they're impressed into forced labor gangs and taught to make cheap
clothing for Walmart's Eastern European expansion.
At about 6:45 PM on December 5th, angles lower Svaty Mikulas down from
heaven on a golden cord. He carries a basket of dried fruits, nuts,
and government letters of transport. When the Saint is about seven
feet at the ground, blindfolded children begin to swing at him with
iron poles or 'Blodsuckeners' hoping to break him open for the rich
treasure of sausages in Beet gravy he conceals. This ushers in the
Joyous season with a festive Melee, as blindfolded youngsters wielding
heavy metal poles beat each other and any unfortunate adult straying
to close to a bloody pulp.