|Dear Santa: Can I have her under my tree?|
I know, I know. You are going to say, "Here we go again! Another blog post from Desdinova about how living in the Ozarks is horrible." Folks, I only want what is best for the kids, because I didn't have much fun as a kid.
Some of you may remember a post from last year about some people who complained on a local TV stations Facebook and website about how the girls in one of the high school's marching bands were dressed. They were wearing "Santa's Little Helper" outfits, like the lovely lady above is wearing. The more I think about it, the more I got to thinking about how we don't do Christmas right in the Ozarks. It isn't fun. I'll give reasons it is not fun later in the post (For one thing not enough sex & nudity, but that is for Christmas as a holiday in general).
First, I'll give an example from my childhood of this very problem. When I was a child, in the late 70s & early 80s, my sister lived in western Oklahoma. She and her husband owned two shoes stores. We would visit them on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The day after Thanksgiving, we would go to the stores in those towns for their big "Kick Off To Christmas" sales. This was before that day had been dubbed "Black Friday" by the world at large.
Remember in the movie Christmas Story how the department store and town was decorated? That was what these stores were like. An overabundance of lights, holly, ribbons and shiny silver stuff. There was also a Santa Claus in EVERY store, not just one store. Some stores had both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. We even went to one store that had a rather buxom woman dressed as Santa with a beard. My theory is the guy who was supposed to be Santa called in sick that day and the stores owner said "Quick, Paula, put on the Santa outfit! Let's hope the kids don't notice your boobs."
I wasn't just a simple, but flashy visit to Santa Claus. THEY GAVE AWAY STUFF! Christmas coloring books, chocolate Santa Claus, marshmallow snowmen, Christmas comic books, candy canes (which I don't like), Rudolph clickers, giant jingle bells, Christmas cookies and gingerbread men were given away at the various stores.
After that, I had to come home to Lebanon, where there were some decorations on the street lights and in some store windows. There may have been a Santa at Kmart and Wal-Mart, but nowhere else. Frankly, there wasn't much to excite a kid about Christmas in Lebanon.
|Found this on Tumblr. A Christmas ad for a store in Lebanon, MO.|
I should add that it wasn't always that way. When I was a small child, one of the banks had an animated display with elves making toys and a snowman that would melt and then pop back up. Another store had a teddy bear in a sled that went back and forth in the store window. Then in the mid-70s, they stop putting these animated scenes in the windows. Supposedly, they broke down and were too expensive to fix... or so they said. Probably, some cranky, redneck parent didn't like that their kids want to go look at these displays every time that came to town, went to city council and asked that there be an ordinance against Christmas being fun in Lebanon.
At the place my father worked, they had a lighted Nativity scene in the window of the lobby, that you could see from the street. They quit putting the nativity scene up because of complaints. Now, before the soldiers in the "war on Christmas" start loading their guns, let me explain that the reason some old people (a group of veterans, I believe) in town said they were frightened by the three wise men because they "looked Arab." At least, they replaced the Nativity scene with cool Willie Wirehand statue in a Santa Claus hat.
There was also a huge wooden Nativity scene along I-44 in Lebanon. The last few times that I remember it being erected, the wind blew part of it over and it wasn't taken down until about June. Supposedly, it was "too much trouble to maintain." When I hear people say things like this, I realize that this is where cartoonist got the stereotype of Ozarkers being shoeless guys with Duck Dynasty beards, laying on a hillside, sleeping next to a big jug of moonshine.
I will say that Lebanon STILL has one of the biggest and best Christmas parades in the area, second or maybe tied with Branson's nighttime, lighted Christmas parade. So I'm not totally saying Lebanon or other communities don't do anything fun at Christmas, but they just don't seem to make it fun for kids.
Every time I bring this up, someone says "We don't do that stuff any more." Yet when you bring up something that needs to be changed in the Ozarks, people will get defensive and say "We've always done things that way and we will continue to do it that way." So what is the difference. Simple, what I'm talking about appeals to children's joy and happiness. I've pointed out this out before, but in Ozarks children are fourth class citizens behind senior citizens, middle-aged adults and pets/livestock.
A good example of this mentality is the women, who were complaining about band girls wearing "Santa's little helper outfits," complained when another TV station's Facebook site listed a schedule for the children's Christmas specials, that we all grew up loving (Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown & the Grinch), were going to be on.
One year there was a group of protesters at the Battlefield Mall, wearing t-shirts with a red slash across a picture of Santa Claus. Personally, I think there is no lower form of life on this planet than a person who hates Santa Claus.
These people are taking the fun out of Christmas by turning it into some right-wing-talk-radio-political-crusade. This people would deny your child the enjoyment of Rudolph or Charlie Brown, just so they can please Bill O'Reilly or Glen Beck. I'm sure they would rather their children watch Bill O'Reilly or Glen Beck than Rudolph or Charlie Brown, because Ozarkers believe you shouldn't let childhood innocence get in the way of their right-wing agenda.
As for the decorations, fix them or buy new ones. How hard is that problem to solve? Put out some effort to make Christmas time special for future customers. Many of the business that were in Lebanon, when I was a child, no longer exist. Perhaps if they had put out some of the effort, like the stores in Oklahoma did, they would still be around. Who knows.
Here is an idea. Let's have fun and joy this Christmas, whether it is with we visit a department store Santa, make a Styrofoam snowman, bake gingerbread men, read The Night Before Christmas, buy toys for needy children, buy lots of toys for your own children, cruise the suburbs looking at the lights on houses, put up light on your own house, watch Christmas cartoons and movies (I have to watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and the MST3K episode with the 1950s Mexican film Santa Claus every year), listen to Christmas record (download my Christmas music podcast), or watch girls in "Santa's Little Helper" outfits dance. The point is have fun and be nice to your fellow human beings.
Of course, my opinions are why I'm considered the Super-Villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!