If it’s December, it must be time for this embedded journalist’s annual report from the the front lines of the War on Christmas.
A favorite bogeyman among conservatives is the fear that godless liberals, aided by foreigners and their non-Jesus-based religions, are gunning for our Christmas traditions — including, but not limited to, Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and the beloved date-rape-drug song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Of course, most galling to these Xmas Crusaders is the fact that a not-quite-great-again America is attempting to replace the term “Merry Christmas” with the more generic “Happy Holidays” greeting. Because while it may be true that every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings, it’s also a fact that every time someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” another Elf on the Shelf bursts into flames.
Our friends over at Fox News have been particularly vigilant in the fight against the “anti-Christmas” creep, routinely raising the alarm about caged babies in nativity scenes, not-religious-enough Starbucks cups and people who would recklessly suggest that Santa is anything other than an elderly white male who eats too many carbs.
Ah, but conservative talking heads like Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly really needn’t bother. Because, as it turns out, Christmas itself has begun fighting back.
A handful of suspicious news stories over the past seven months involving altercations with Christmas trees suggests that when it comes to the yuletide battle, Christmas is mad as heaven and it’s not going to take it anymore:
• Tensions high ’twixt people, trees
The trouble dates back to at least this past spring, when several news sources reported that a man in Trussville, Alabama, was injured in a “strange” altercation with a large Christmas tree.
The local newspaper reported a witness claiming that the truck “hit the curb on Brentwood Avenue before accelerating across West Mall, jumping the curb and crashing into the Christmas tree.”
I saw the police photos and explored the area with the street-level function on Google Maps, and that’s a very long way for a vehicle to go out of its way to collide with a conifer. It certainly didn’t look like an accident, and one can only wonder what the tree did to instigate such behavior.
A decorative street lamp post and two crepe myrtle trees were also destroyed in the incident, proving that in any war — including the War on Christmas — there will always be a certain amount of inevitable collateral damage.
• The Evergreen Strikes Back
Fast-forward four months. In the most brazen attack to-date, the owner of a Christmas tree farm in Maine was killed in early September while he was cutting down a large tree. According to a report from WABI Channel 5 in Bangor, Maine, the 84-year-old man “was working alone on the Range Road when the tree bounced back, striking him. He died at the scene.”
Conveniently, there were no witnesses to this coniferous killing.
Stay out of the woods, people.
• Uh-oh, Tannenbaum!
Then, in late November, a staff member at the Grove Hotel outside London, England, was injured when a Christmas tree simply up and fell on the worker. While putting up the hotel’s Christmas tree, the worker sustained what were described as “minor injuries” in the assault. Still, the injuries were serious enough that news reports say it did require a response from “an ambulance, a rapid response vehicle, and (an) air ambulance,” as well as a trip to the hospital.
• Video or it didn’t happen
Some of this aggression being exhibited by Christmas trees has even been caught on camera. A few weeks ago, media outlets in Ohio got footage of a 55-foot-tall blue spruce — destined to grace Youngstown, Ohio’s Central Square for the holidays — “inexplicably” breaking apart as it was being cut and removed from a resident’s yard.
All but the top 15 feet of the 10,000-pound tree, which was supported by a crane, plummeted to the ground. Officials say they’re just thankful no one was hurt in the bizarre incident.
No thanks to the tree, which clearly had designs on taking a few humans with it.
• And finally, just this past week ...
A man died early Friday morning after falling from the town’s Christmas tree in central Scotland. No one knows why he was in the tree.
At 2:55 a.m. Friday, officers were called to the scene in Kirkcaldy, where they found the injured man. He later died at the hospital.
The story referred to the tree as a “four-metre fir.” My scientific friends (who, incidentally, are simultaneously battling against America’s War on the Metric System) tell me that’s about 13 feet high.
Police, who cordoned off the tree with crime-scene tape, say the death was being treated as “non-suspicious.” But a local nightclub manager who witnessed the fall was at a loss to explain the freak incident.
“I’m not medically trained in terms of what happened when he fell but I reckon you could do that thousands of times and you would walk away,” he said.
Curious indeed. A fall that should have just knocked the wind out of a man, and police cordoning off the area as if it were a crime scene.
Non-suspicious? That seems the very definition of “suspicious.”
The message the trees seem to be sending is clear: Mess with Christmas, you get your chestnuts roasted.
And so, at this festive time of the year, we here at the Standard-Examiner wish you all the happiest of holidays. But just in case?
Keep an eye on your Christmas tree.