Subversive messages in carols?

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Santa Claus is a stalker.

I came to this conclusion walking home from the Andalusia Christmas Parade last Friday night. My two older boys, 13 and 11, were reliving plots of horror movies, which seem unusual when you think about their recent dosage of bells, tinsel and good cheer, unless you have teenage sons - then you'll understand. As their stories got gorier and gorier, I heard stealthy footsteps behind us in the dark.

"You're giving me the heebie-jeebies," I told the boys. "Now I think we're being stalked."

The neighbor walking behind us fell into the game.

"It's just Santa," he said. "You only have to worry if you've been naughty."

So I made a joking reference to Santa the Stalker, but upon reflection, I'm not far wrong, am I?

He sees you when your sleeping - He knows when you're awake

He Knows of you've been bad or good…

Sounds like a stalker to me.

I'm not the only person to think so, either. Remember "Santa Claus Is Watching You," Ray Stevens' contribution to the Christmas song list? A few lines from it only confirm my belief that Jolly Old Saint Nick has his sinister side:

Be careful what you say and do, 'Cause Santa Claus is watchin' you (He's everywhere, he's everywhere.)

Ooh, look out there's Santa Claus now peepin' around the corner

Shoot, you in deep trouble…

Them little elves gonna come down here

Whoop up on you.

Of course, paranoia isn't the only side effect of Christmas carols. They've been attacked recently in Austria, the birthplace of Silent Night, because unions claim the overplaying of carols desensitizes and irritates the workers who have to listen to them all the time, and by the time Christmas actually rolls around, the shopkeepers are perched on the brink of bloodthirsty, jingle-bells inspired rampage.

And we haven't even discussed political correctness. Like, excuse me? What is this about only the "good little boys and girls" getting toys? Is that discrimination, or what? After all, everybody knows there are no bad girls and boys, only rotten parents, lousy home environments, attention deficit disorder and really bad hair days.

And what about the carol that promises a gun to a boy and a doll to a girl? Eeek - not only gender discrimination, but promoting violence? And what was Frosty the Snowman smoking in that corncob pipe of his? Then there's "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus," and "Santa Baby" - far too racy for our tiny tots.

Besides discrimination, political incorrectness and outright criminal activity, Christmas carols come with another problem - health safety. When Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, should we not be warned that frostbite can cause the loss of fingers, toes, and, yes, noses? Is OSHA aware that Nat King Cole promotes roasting chestnuts without warning listeners that they should poke holes in the nuts first? Otherwise, the nuts explode and can cause severe injury to the eyes and face.

We call for a disclaimer right now. I can hear him crooning now:

Chestnuts (poked with tiny holes to let the steam out safely) roasting on an open fire,

Jack Frost nipping at your nose (which should be immediately taken indoors for medical attention)