By Emma Teitel - Monday, December 17, 2012 - 0 Comments
Emma Teitel on why Father Christmas is the last true disciplinarian
Every year, millions of children are told not to talk to strangers, and every year they do. In fact, not only do they talk to strangers; at the behest of their parents, they sit in a stranger’s lap. This stranger goes by the name of Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, or Sinterklaas. He could be the Antichrist, but between November and January, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at your local shopping mall, he is God’s gift to children everywhere. He is also, as the story we tell them goes, the purveyor of coal, or last year’s iPhone, so you better watch out—that is, sit in his lap and appear at ease while he mumbles platitudes into his glued-on beard. There are those, however, who aren’t comfortable with this arrangement. We see them each year: the kids who are dragged kicking and screaming onto the knees of St. Nick. It’s a condition our society has dubbed “Santaphobia” and, judging by recent events, it’s probably getting worse.
At the Lowe’s Christmas Market in Toronto this month, one Santa Claus decided to critique a three-year-old boy’s choice of clothing. According to the boy’s mother, Santa looked at her son and said, “Oh you’re wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs toque. You shouldn’t be wearing that; they suck.” (The boy went home crying.) At a shopping mall in Portland, Maine, recently, a Santa Claus who was described as “weird” and “grumpy” refused to promise a little girl the doll she wanted. (He promised her a football instead.)
Indignant parents took to Facebook and got the bad Santas fired. One thing they probably didn’t do, though, was tell the truth. The mother of the crestfallen Maple Leafs fan told her son that Santa was having a bad day. “I can’t really tell him Santa’s a jerk,” she said. Which means she can’t really tell him that Santa’s not Santa. Apparently, a real Santa Claus who hurts your feelings, or smells like rubbing alcohol, is better than no Santa at all.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 11, 2009 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
This week’s Newsmakers
It’s coal in your stocking, bucko
Santa shook like a bowl full of Jell-O at the Southlake Mall in suburban Atlanta, but not in a good way. Police in Morrow, Ga., say 45-year-old William C. Caldwell III dressed as an elf and waited an hour in line to have his picture taken with St. Nick. When he reached the man in red, Caldwell, looking very elfin at five feet tall and 108 lb., said he was packing dynamite in his bags. Santa called security. The mall was evacuated but no explosives were found. The naughty elf faces a variety of charges and the prospect of Christmas behind bars.
The other shoe drops
Two Iraqi journalists are now one shoe short of a pair. Muntazer al-Zaidi, who famously chucked a shoe at former U.S. president George W. Bush, has himself become a target of flying footwear. Zaidi was speaking at a news conference in Paris when an exiled Iraqi journalist, arguing in favour of U.S. policy, hurled a shoe at Zaidi. Zaidi’s outraged brother attempted to rough up the fleeing journalist, who wasn’t immediately identified. And Zaidi later complained, “He stole my technique.”
Son of a Terminator
If the rumours are true, Tallulah Willis, 15, is dating Patrick Schwarzenegger, 16. Doesn’t that have the makings of the ultimate teen-romance action flick? Willis shares her time with daddy Bruce Willis, and with mom Demi Moore and her hubby Ashton Kutcher. And Schwarzenegger’s dad, Arnold, is the governator of California. The New York Post says the pair started dating at Halloween. A rep for Bruce Willis denies it, but dads are always the last to know. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, November 6, 2009 at 1:05 PM - 3 Comments
‘A Christmas Carol’ is a hot item in hard times, but Jim Carrey sucks the soul right out of it
He did it for the money. An indebted Charles Dickens dashed off A Christmas Carol in six weeks and saw it published, with opportune timing, six days before Christmas, in 1843. The first 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve and the book has never been out of print. With his blockbuster novella, Dickens founded a franchise and reinvented the Christmas spirit, making a plea for joy and generosity in dour industrial England. But had he been visited by the Ghost of Xmas 2009, he would be shocked to see what’s become of his creation—a monstrous, half-human Ebenezer Scrooge who glowers from 3-D movie screens, heralding a Yuletide blitz of getting and spending more than six weeks before Christmas Day. And in Jim Carrey, the star of Disney’s A Christmas Carol, he’d see an actor who out-Scrooges Scrooge by hoarding five of the story’s roles—Ebenezer as an old man and a young boy, plus all three Christmas ghosts.
Tis the season to be tight-fisted, and Scrooge has never been bigger. Tailor-made for these penny-pinching times, he’s the original bipolar capitalist—the boss from hell who turns into a bailout benefactor. Everyone wants a piece of him. As Margaret Atwood writes in her introduction to a new Dickens anthology, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books, “Scrooge is one of those characters—like Hamlet—who has become detached from the story in which he had his birth, and has become instantly recognizable, even by those who have never read the book.” Recalling her childhood affection for Disney’s Scrooge McDuck, who splashed in a giant vault of coins, Atwood calls him “a sort of anti-Santa Claus—Santa Claus’s dark twin.” Continue…
By Kenneth Whyte - Monday, December 22, 2008 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
Santa, courtesy of Gerry Bowler, talks about shopping, recessions and personal attacks
Gerry Bowler teaches at the University of Manitoba and is working on his third book about Christmas. His previous books include Santa Claus: A Biography and The World Encyclopedia of Christmas. He arranged for Maclean’s to speak with Santa.
Q: All we’re hearing is bad news about people losing jobs and offices cancelling Christmas parties. Should we just write off Christmas this year?
A: Oh, not at all, no. It’s actually in the times of economic depression and social turmoil that we need magic.
By Andrew Coyne - Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 12:17 PM - 7 Comments
“I’m sorry for your situation, but it is difficult to justify giving trillions of…
“I’m sorry for your situation, but it is difficult to justify giving trillions of US taxpayer dollars to a private company that is outmoded, headquartered offshore, and, frankly, imaginary.”
– Latest bailout applicant faces skeptical reaction in Congress.
(Swiped from one of Wells’s commenters.)
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 2:56 PM - 9 Comments
Rona Ambrose sports a “No Coup” button.
After a Liberal caucus meeting in Ottawa,…
Rona Ambrose sports a “No Coup” button.
After a Liberal caucus meeting in Ottawa, Bryon Wilfert, the mild-mannered MP, got mad at the media for their attacks on Stéphane Dion’s leadership. Wilfert was one of Dion’s biggest supporters.
Green Leader Elizabeth May at a pro-coalition rally in Ottawa.