Here Comes Santa
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and if we do it right we ought to be exhausted and unable to eat another bite by January 2.

January 3 at the latest.

It's not an event that just happens on the 24th and 25th of December. Christmas is a celebration that begins as soon as the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving is gone and it lasts through New Year's Day. It's a five-week party.

My wife and I have already had a number of Christmas celebrations and we're just getting warmed up. Wednesday evening we had friends over. When they left I told them, "Merry Christmas." Then I realized we would celebrate with them three more times in the next two weeks.

One of our big celebrations is coming up –a family Christmas party. Years ago this party included my wife's parents, her two sisters, our brother-in-law, eight children and some aunts and uncles – about 18 people. It was a big crowd, but certainly doable.

Today this group has expanded considerably. We have been nothing if not prolific and our Christmas parties should probably be held in a convention center.

We can all fit in one house as long as no one breathes deeply or spills food and has to pick it up off the floor. The person closest to the front door has to leave first.

This is what Christmas is all about: squeezing way too many relatives in way too little space, with way too much noise and way too much food – and having way too much fun.

Tradition rules at family Christmas parties and tradition at our family event requires that all but the oldest generation sit on Santa's lap.

Some of our grandchildren are in their 20s. They are over 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. But they still have to sit on Santa's lap.

They are old enough to refuse, of course. But they know their Christmas presents depend on them sitting on Santa's lap for a photo.

It's really not so bad for them. But it's really hard on Santa who has bum knees.

Brother-in-law: "It's wonderful when all the kids sit in my lap on my sore knees while I'm dressed in that hot suit and scratchy beard. It's a great experience. You've gained a lot of weight this year. Why don't you be Santa Claus?"

Me: " When pigs fly."

Brother-in-law: "If reindeer can fly, pigs can fly.

Why is Santa Claus always a man? Don't we live in an age of gender equality? If men can cook and clean and do dishes, why can't women play Santa Claus?

The main reason women don't play Santa is they're a lot smarter than men and they trick us into doing it.

Here are some other reasons why Santa has to be a man:

A woman would never slide down a chimney and get ashes and soot all over her beautiful red velvet suit.

It's very hard to walk on a rooftop in platform shoes.

A woman would never leave her husband alone and unsupervised all night Christmas Eve in a house filled with goodies she's spent days baking for the party Christmas Day.

A woman would never wear the same outfit every Christmas Eve for centuries on end.

Clement Moore wrote the Christmas classic "A Visit From St. Nicholas" which gives us our image of Santa Claus. If a woman were Santa, he would have had to change a lot of the lines in his poem.

A woman Santa would not see the humor in being caricatured as "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf."

I also doubt she'd chuckle at that line about her round belly shaking like a bowlful of jelly!

Think about this:

Wife: "Honey, does this red outfit look okay on me?"

Husband: "Yes. When you laugh it makes your belly dance like a bowl full of jelly."

A man who says that is likely to get a bowl full of jelly dumped on his head. And he is definitely in for some long, cold winter naps.

If Santa were a female, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" would sound more like this:

"She had a graceful face and a figure to die for,

that women in fitness centers struggle to try for. She was slender and more lovely than words could tell, and I knew that I loved her even more than the NFL."

At least that's they way I'd write it today if I were Clement Moore writing about a woman Santa and I wanted to make sure I got my Christmas presents.

Although wives don't play Santa they are the spirit of Christmas in very home, decorating our houses and filling us with seasonal cheer. The truth is women bring Christmas to our homes.

Wife: "Do you want to help me put up all these decorations inside the house?

Me: "No."

Wife: "I wasn't really asking if you wanted to help. Let me rephrase the question. Will you please help me put up all these decorations. I have 20 boxes of them in the storage closet."

Me: "Would helping you include calling the grandkids and ordering them to get over here and do it if they want Christmas presents?"

Wife: "I do the shopping. I do the cooking. I do the planning, the wrapping and the cleaning up. You need to help with something at Christmas."

I guess there is a reason men are required to play Santa at Christmas.

It's the only thing we do

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