Ode to a Very Bad Santa

Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's Honor
What is it about the holidays, a time that should bring out the best in us all, but when, quite frankly, the worst rears its ugly head?

Instead of the spirit of giving, laughter, and joy, we get cranky, mean-spirited, and humorless? Just visit the mall near you to see it in action. It's why all of my shopping is now done online. No swearing mom throwing me the bird (with snotty-nosed darlings mimicking) whilst cutting me off in the parking lot. No bitchy man in line moaning about how sloooow the seasonal help is and implying his time is more important. No lotion/cell phone kiosk salesman hard-selling me what I don't want -- or need. Nope, none of it. 

In fact, the only time we ever venture forth to a mall is to get a picture with Santa. The perfect picture with the perfect Santa. Macy's in San Francisco had such a Santa ... emphasis on the had!


The Raines 2003
How could someone fire such a jolly ol' soul? Seems the 20-year Santa veteran liked to mix up for the adults that sat in his lap. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

John Toomey, known for 20 years at the Union Square Macy's in San Francisco as "Santa John," was told Saturday he'll have to take his "ho, ho, hos" elsewhere because an adult couple complained about a joke he cracked.

I know, I know. Already your mind is wandering to something crude and vulgar. What could he have possibly said? Apparently some rather silly, mild-mannered jokes the 68-year-old retiree had in his repertoire for decades.

"When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say, 'Yes,' I say, 'Gee, that's too bad,'" Toomey said Monday.

"Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live."

Apparently one such humorless couple found these jokes in bad taste. 

They complained. 

Santa John, with fans all over, was canned.


They must have been relatives to bird-throwing parking lot lady, right? Who else would get an old guy fired in this economy? And really, what adults sit on Santa's lap for that matter?!

We Dub Thee Scary Santa

As for the Raines and that Santa tradition? It was a well-honed tradition to scare the crap out of kids at my holidays. I came by it honestly. I have pictures of myself wailing as a child on Santa Claus's lap. The milestone was when the smiles came. I tried to continue the tradition with my kids. 

Yet, that went by the wayside years ago when "Santa" had a tobacco-stained beard and reeked of fetid alcohol breath, and we were told that our $38 photo would arrive in January. So much for holiday cards. I felt guilty even letting my kids sit on his lap, much less put it on a card.

Oh for the Santas of my youth. Oh for the Santa Johns.

Good Santas are hard to find.

So do you take the kids for pictures with Santa in the mall? What's your holiday tradition?

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