X-Mas Tropes in Real Life


The scenario: Driving along a lonely stretch of highway one night a young couple spy an old man shuffling along by the side of the road. Doing what any friendly, carefully non-denominational couple would do, they decide to pull over and ask if he needs assistance. Shockingly, the confused and disoriented old man does need assistance, and what better way to provide it than unguardedly eschewing the proper authorities and taking him back to their house where their children sleep. It’s a good thing they did too because this old man has an amazing secret.

How it plays out in the movies: No, the secret isn’t that he has an extensive collection of prettied-up drifter-heads, like most hitchhikers do. It’s that he’s Santa Claus. You know, that guy that every adult believes in without question. Sure they may be a little sceptical at first, but seriously, look how good he is with their kids. I mean couldn’t only the real Santa, or a particularly crafty paedophile, be that good with children. And he can’t be a paedophile, after all, it’s Christmas.

The "Naughty List" often coincides with the sex-offender registry.
The “Naughty List” often coincides with the sex-offender registry.

How it would play in real life: If you see an old man at the side of the road looking confused and anxious, please, don’t take him home. There’s a good chance he has Alzheimer’s, and not the magically festive kind. This is especially true if he goes out of his way to tell you he’s Santa, owns reindeer, or attempts to subjugate anyone under 4 feet tall. When those men in white coats come to take him away, remember, they aren’t the bad guys there to ruin Christmas; they’re there to take him somewhere warm, safe and heavily padded so that you don’t have to experience the trauma of waking up next to a disembodied Reindeer head.

God-father Christmas?..... No? Sorry.
God-father Christmas?….. No? Sorry.


The scenario: It’s Christmas time and all little Timmy wants is for his parents to get back together. He waits patiently, eventually making his way to the front of the department store line to sit on Santa’s sweaty and urine-soaked lap. He tells the old man about his wish, and amazingly (in what I can only imagine is a huge breach of department store policy) he says he’ll see what he can do. After all, Christmas!

How it plays out in the movies: Life experience would suggest that when an old bearded man takes a professional interest in a young couple’s relationship, he usually does so armed with a video camera and a name like Dick Hardwood. However, that’s an unnecessarily cynical and accurate conclusion to jump to. After all, he’s probably Santa. And why wouldn’t he mess with the very concept of free-will by love-forcing little Timmy’s parents back together. After all, deep down they really love each other. Right?

How it would play in real life: People divorce for a range of different reasons: Different goals, lack of intimacy, Scandinavian tennis instructor. It’s sad, but in most cases, ultimately for the best. So what happens if a child wishes for two people who hate each other to be effectively bound to each other for the rest of their lives? Well, if that wish comes true then little Timmy better spend next year’s Christmas wish on a bigger bunk at the orphanage because that arrangement can only end one way, and it rhymes with “Schmurder/Schmuicide”. God bless us, everyone.

"Merry Christmas, ass-face."
“Merry Christmas, ass-face.”


The scenario: So here you are, our happy family man packing up your office, ready to head home for the holidays. Whoa, whoa. Not so fast, Everyman. The boss, Scrooge Angry-Eyebrows has other plans for you. Calling you into his office, the boss lays down a big, steaming chunk of verbal coal. You have to work Christmas day. You try to explain that you can’t but he waves your protests aside as dismissively as a Joss Whedon fan defending “Dollhouse”. What can you do? I mean you desperately don’t want to let down your family/friends/cock-fighting ring, but what other option do you have?

How it plays out in the movies: Drunk with the spirit of Christmas and the five work-whiskeys you downed earlier to help you get through the day, you decide that enough is enough. It’s Christmas dammit, and you’ll be damned if you’re going to spend it at work. You tell your boss as much, and to your surprise rather than firing you, he agrees. He knows he was being a grinch and decides to let you take the weekend off. And hell, why not have that big promotion you’ve been angling for while we’re at it. After all, he admires your moxie.

"The green line represents employees who stood up to me. Whereas the green line represents employees who were fired."
“The green line represents employees who stood up to me. Whereas the green line represents employees who were fired.”

How it would play in real life: Working on Christmas? What are you, a monster? Heartless? Jewish? Why not just stab the concept of joy directly in the face? So your boss told you to work. So what, it’s not like he’s the boss of you. Oh, wait, he is? And he can fire you? How does he feel about moxie? Against it, huh….Well, who cares if you get fired, surely when your family’s evicted and have to carol for food and shelter they’ll be content in the knowledge that something. After all, if “the Little Match Girl” taught us anything it’s that positive thinking will get you through the hard times. Wait, she what?

"Who asks too many rhetorical questions?"
“Who asks too many rhetorical questions?”


The scenario: So Christmas is winding down and everything’s tied up nicely. Your family squabbles are behind you, your job’s secured for another year and the soul-less hell-denizens can’t hurt you anymore. But something’s missing. Something magical. And then suddenly you see it. A single snow-flake falls from the sky dancing as majestically as a plastic bag caught in an updraught. Wow, it’s snowing. But it doesn’t usually snow here.

How it plays out in the movies: It’s wondrous. The perfect end to a “crazy”, but ultimately heart-warming Christmas. Overtaken by the spirit of Christmas, you run around catching snowflakes on your tongue like a crazed nymph at some kind of Holiday themed bukake party. Sure, you may be getting hypothermic because, let’s face it, you live in Zambia, South Africa and frankly didn’t see this coming in the middle of Summer. But still, you’d have to be a heartless weather-grinch not to get caught up in the magic of the season.

How it would play in real life: So it’s snowing in Southern Texas, it’s a Christmas Miracle, right? Maybe, or maybe it’s the first scene of “2012” up in this bitch and we should all be making a break for the nearest bomb-shelter. Because really, last I heard, there’s nothing in Santa’s resume that mentions f#*king with the weather.

“Do you know what happens to an elf when it’s struck by lightning?”
“Do you know what happens to an elf when it’s struck by lightning?”


The scenario: So Christmas is pretty much over. It’s time to pack up the tree, clear away the decorations, and restore contact with the Jewish friends you’ve dutifully shunned over the last few days. But perhaps most importantly it’s finally time for your family to kindly get the hell out of your house….but not before you say your goodbyes.

How it plays out in the movies: Anyone who has ever seen a Christmas movie knows that Christmas is all about reconnecting with family. A simple yet festive reminder that despite our differences, deep down, we’re all in this together. Sure, throughout the course of the day they’ve driven you crazy, fought constantly and covertly spiked the family punch bowl with their oestrogen supplements for fun, but after all is said and done, they’re family and they’re there for you. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

How it would play in real life: No. It’s not. I mean everyone’s family seems okay when they’re moving in perpetual slow motion with a “Shins” soundtrack drowning out their folksy racism. But that’s not how real life works. They may be family, but let’s be honest, they get on your nerves. And you get on theirs. The only real-life Christmas miracle is that you manage to get through the holidays without shanking each other with candy-cane shards.