Dec. 14 The Night Santa Went Crazy
Does anyone remember those "Real Men of Genius" commercials Budweiser ran years ago? They would say things like "Today we salute you, Mr. Really Bad Toupee Wearer, or Mr. Too Much Cologne Man." As hilarious as the ad might have been, it was always an illustration of the worst habits of everyday people. Today, I'd like to raise a glass to the real heroes who need our support right now. I'm talking about you, Mr. or Mrs. Disgruntled Holiday Shopping Parent.
Welcome back, my thirstiest of readers. Have you ever wondered how Christmas became so commercialized? As children, we're told this is a "religious" holiday, but modern Christmas is about as religious as the fourth of July. (If you even try saying Independence Day has anything to do with religion, please stop reading my blog now. It probably has too many big words for you.) With electric lights, over-indulgent feasts, and a spike in retail sales so high, toy companies would go under without the "season of giving." How did we get here anyways?
Where do we point the first finger? There are so many representations of a commercial Christmas, it's hard to say where it began. With most things done in bad taste, my home country of the United States birthed most of these tacky traditions. In the late 1800s, F.W. Woolworth introduced the first commercially-available glass ornaments to adorn that "oh-so-holy" Christmas tree. Oh the Christmas tree, probably the most heavily surviving symbol of Yule, the pagan holiday we derive most of our "Christmas" traditions from. Wreaths, trees, even mistletoe, yeah they're all from Yule.
You might ask "What's wrong with borrowing traditions from another holiday for our somber Christmas celebrating?" Well, Yule was anything but somber and tame, consisting of the wildest, most drunken time of the year. With all of the spending, fussing, stressing, and more spending, we should probably just bring back Yule again. Where was I again? Oh yeah, those little glass ornaments. Woolworth sold them in his store, and by the early 1900s, they'd become a staple in every household, proving once again the power of the almighty dollar.
"Well what about Santa Claus?" That surely can't be rooted in commercialism. We are just trying to make children happy afterall. Most European cultures had some version of a Santa-like figure, but the one closest to the jolly man of today would have to be "Sinterklaas," the Dutch Santa. If we were to go back and look at this Dutch St. Nick, we'd see a man resembling the Pope with a beard, more than the fat man we know today. We can thank Coca-Cola for that one.
The Santa we know today was born in the 1920s, and he wasn't the product of a child's imagination at all; he was the creation of ad-men for the iconic cola. The Saturday Evening Post was where the modern day Santa would first show his rosy cheeks to the world. We've never looked back since, and with each passing year, our children become more and more entitled to the fat man's riches.
Now I'm not trying to be a Grinch here at all. I just see parents every year, coming into my bar, exhausted and beaten down over the demands of their offspring. In no way am I saying we shouldn't do our best to spread cheer to the children of the world, but when do dear old mom and dad get a little love? Why must all the credit go to a figment of Coca-Cola's imagination? You know, it wasn't long before they created this image of greed, they were still putting cocaine in their soda. Maybe some of it got to their brains.
Weird Al Yankovic wrote a song called "The Night Santa Went Crazy," telling the story of a drunken Santa Claus finally losing his mind, after being unappreciated year after year. I felt like this was a tale in which most parents would relate. As an alternative to going on a rage-fueled rampage, I thought maybe I'd just leave you heroic retail warriors with a double dose of overproof rum. "Today, we salute you, disgruntled holiday shopping parents. For too long, you've been overlooked, only hearing blood-curdling screams, when you bought the wrong Barbie doll. Today, we raise a glass to you, and everything you do."
The Night Santa Went Crazy
1oz 151 Proof Guyanese Rum
.5oz Overproof Jamaican Rum
.25oz Allspice Dram
.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
.25oz Ginger Syrup
.75oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Ansinthe
Footed Pilsner or Collins Glass
Whip shake and pour unstrained.
Top with crushed ice.
Top with mint sprigs, flower, swizzle, powdered sugar, and tiny Santa hat.
*For you lovers of classic tiki drinks, you'll notice this one is essentially a spiced-up version of a Cobra's Fang. I've always seen this drink as the perfect size and ABV for a stressed-out adult human, just one step below the Zombie.*
I hope this one didn't drag you down too much friends. I'm only having a bit of fun. The real point still remains, and that's how we should just be there for one another. I can't even begin to imagine the stress some families are under during this particular holiday season. If you're one of the fortunate souls, who hasn't lost any of their income during this pandemic, maybe you should lend a helping hand. I personally wish I was in a position to do so, but you all know what's happened to my line of work this year. Stay thankful my friends, keep the spirit alive, and keep shaking.