Think the season is all good cheer, gifts and candy canes? Think again, you ignorant fool! We're pulling back the curtain on Christmas and revealing the sinister side of this beloved holiday. From child-eating demons to racist holiday specials and good ole fashioned corporate greed, these are the top 10 black spots that St. Nick doesn't want you to know about.
1. The Krampus
In case you weren't aware, Christmas is celebrated slightly differently all over the world, and with various offshoot characters in regards to the whole St. Nick deal. Case in point: the Krampus.
Primarily derived from Germanic folklore, this demon is Santa's right-hand man on Christmas Eve. He accompanies the fat man to all the children's houses, where they put the kids on trial for their ability to obey their parents. If you've been a good little boy or girl, you get a lovely wooden horse or something. If you've been a prick, into Krampus' bag you go, later to be devoured in his lair, which is located behind Dick Cheney's house. Other translations have the beast just cutting out the middle man and taking you to hell, or beating the crap out of you with a bundle of birch branches.
Here's a lovely song explaining Krampus, although it's a little too PG-13 for my taste:
2. Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)
Christmas in Holland means several things: children put carrots in wooden shoes to feed Santa's reindeer, long horns are blown at sunset, and everyone eats something called Oliebollen. All good fun, but then there's Zwarte Piet, and that s**t is not cool.
Going along with the idea of Santa having a sidekick, Black Pete is the fun-loving Moor who accompanies him through the holiday, and even has his own special day on December 5. His general role is to entertain children and give out candy ... and be Santa's slave.
To enact this holiday tradition, they dress up in black face, complete with afro wigs and gold jewelry, and parade around town doing their best bamboozled routine. Despite recent protests, and raised awareness concerning how ridiculously f***ing crazily racist this all is, the tradition lives on because ... you know ... it's tradition.
In case you don't believe me, here's Black Pete doing his best Gangnam Style.
3. Rudolph The Red Nosed Ostracism
One of the most well-known Christmas offshoot stories has to be the whole Rudolph epic. You probably remember it as a heartwarming tale about a reindeer who was a little bit different, who saves the day when Santa sits on his bifocals. Too bad you're forgetting about the first part of the story, remember this little ditty?
So let me get this straight, before Santa needed Rudolph to save Christmas, he permitted the other reindeer to bully the crap out of him. That's a nice lesson to kids — if someone is different it's okay to ridicule them mercilessly until they prove their worth to the community. There's a lost verse somewhere that details how after a while everyone forgot Rudolph did anything, so they just made him into sausage.
4. It's a Pagan Holiday
While it may have dawned on you previously that Santa and Jesus didn't go to the same high school, Christmas is and will always be considered a Christian holiday. Many people attend church on Christmas, and December 25 signifies the birth of the savior, even though he probably wasn't actually born on that day. So then, why the hell are you putting a pine tree in your living room?
Let me lay it out for you. The Christmas celebration is derived from various cultures and rituals, which in their vast majority predate the birth of Jesus, or even the idea of monotheism. That regrettable make-out session at the office party takes place under mistletoe because it was considered as a symbol of fertility to the ancient Druids and possibly even before. The winter solstice was a big bash for everyone from the Romans to the Greeks to your Grand Pappy's old country swinger parties. The shortening of days symbolized the death of the sun god, and subsequent rebirth. Is this starting to sound familiar?
Anyway, by putting a giant green boner in your house, you're essentially renewing a festival overladen with pagan themes. Considering the violent nature in which countless pagans were converted or massacred in the name of the Christian faith throughout history, doesn't this seem a bit ... I don't know, hypocritical? Sorry, guys, that whole hippie nature god thing you got going doesn't fly, but your parties rock, so we're just going to appropriate it into our religion.
5. The "War" on Christmas
Every year we're subjected to this blowhard among others weeping about how Christmas is under attack. I'm sorry, did they make you take your giant glowing crucifix down from the public library's front yard? It must have been awful tough on your kid when they changed the nativity scene to frosty the snowman at their school.
You know what? Shut the f**k up. Christmas is the king of all holidays in the U.S. It dominates for a full month of the year and shoves its holly-jolly message down your throat unapologetically. What's that, you're a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Jehova's witness, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or part of a sect of Christianity that doesn't celebrate Christmas? Screw you, it's Santa's party, so shut up and drink the egg nog, because this s**t is going down on every street corner, restaurant and television network, and if that bothers you, then that's your problem.
Then after all that, we bitch about how people of different faiths are infringing on our ability to celebrate it. Brave guardians of the tinsel, how do you keep up the fight?
6. The Inflation and Subsequent Failure of Hanukkah
While Christmas has a stranglehold on the holiday market come December, Hanukkah has made a play to be the second most recognized celebration. Yes, the festival of lights is a beautiful act, symbolizing the story of when some ancient Jews ran out of lamp oil and prayed it would last just a wee bit longer. The only problem here is that Hanukkah really isn't such a big deal in the Jewish religion. In fact it's pretty small potatoes to Jewish people not exposed to the Christmas tradition.
On behalf of the one Hebrew in every small town out there, Hanukkah has attempted to combat the awesome gift machine that is Christmas. Too bad Hanukkah sucks. Imagine you come home to light the candles with your family, say a prayer or two, and eventually your dad slips you $20 alongside some chocolate coins in a guilt-induced state of depression. How does that compare with the mountain of Xboxes your Christian buddies received? He can't compete with Christmas! No one can compete with Christmas!
So now your father turns to the bottle of Manischewitz for answers, and pretty soon the menorah has been thrown through the window, and the house bursts into flames. Indeed, Hanukkah sucks.
7. It Promotes the Accumulation of Crap
In case you needed some ideas for gifts this year, we've got that covered, but there's a reason that article exists. The vast majority of what you receive this year will be something you either didn't want or would never buy for yourself. With more pressure than ever to buy gifts for the important people in your life, the amount of thought put into individual purchases is minimal. That's how you end up with the bacon wallet.
Nothing says your friends and family know nothing about you like receiving a gift better suited for the discount rack. Thank you for the soiled stuffed turtle Grandma, my interest in reptiles has actually subsided since my eighth birthday, but it's the thought that counts.
8. Santa Is Creepy
I would've loved to be in the board room on this one. "Okay, guys, so here's the pitch. Santa runs a sweatshop in the North Pole, where a bunch of enslaved midgets build toys for him. Once a year, he breaks into everyone's houses to give gifts to children in exchange for baked goods. Sounds good, no inconsistencies or foreboding overtones there."
So while you're pervading this myth to your children that magic is real, and that an overweight elderly person flies around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, you drag them to the mall to meet "Santa." In this case, "Santa" is a stranger that makes a living by placing thousands of children on his lap, and asking what they want from him. What kind of person would that job description attract, I wonder?
9. It Irreparably Damaged Star Wars
If you haven't seen this galactic pile of garbage, do yourself a favor and check it out — just know Star Wars will never be the same for you. The Star Wars Holiday Special focused on Chewbacca heading home to hang out with his family, and their version of Christmas called Life Day. The affair was littered with bizarre songs, celebrity cameos, and looooong periods of non-subtitled Wookiee growling. There's a part where Diahann Carroll sings a song to Chewbacca's father via hologram imaging, while the old fart gets aroused and makes her repeat various lines over and over again. Apparently there wasn't a huge cache of Wookiee porn available yet.
Pair all that with appearances and songs by Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship ... I'm serious, this actually happened. As far as this being a "Holiday Special," Christmas definitely takes the blame for creating a demand for this. I haven't seen many "Kwanzaa Specials" on television lately.
10. Christmas Brings Out the Worst in People
For the whole appeal about the holidays celebrating good will toward your fellow man and such, Christmas comes dangerously close to pushing people over the edge. Withstanding the unbelievable worship of materialism we fall victim to during this time of year, complete with the avalanche of commercialization of every product, the human psyche is ill equipped to cope. With the stress from battling over the last Ferbie, debating who's annoying relatives to spend the day with, and blowing your savings account to a Chipmunk-themed soundtrack, you're bound to feel a bit on edge. The result of this is a generally less-than-enjoyable period leading up to the big day. By the time it arrives, you're ready to go ballistic if anyone gives you any s**t on that ridiculous sweater you're obligated to be wearing. Happy Christmas, you poor saps.