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Deck the halls, and maybe some others
December 17, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

‘Tis the season to deck the halls. Of course, as with most holidays that turn falalalala into fisticuffs, the December holiday season also seems to be a pretty good time to deck somebody else, or at least think strongly about doing so. Blame the extra brandy in the egg nog. Blame the elbowing mall crowds. Blame St. Nick himself. Blame folks thinking the biggest balls in the room aren’t those festooning the Christmas tree. But regardless of which mischievous elf is behind this year’s naughty list, seems for some revelers the only yule log worth having is the one aimed at somebody else’s head.

Or maybe one’s own.

In China, a 38-year-old man leapt to his death at a mall after his girlfriend insisted they continue shopping, according to published reports. Supposedly the couple had shopped for five hours before he leapt. Is this shop till you drop or just proof that retail therapy isn’t quite the same as a couple’s secession? All joking aside, witnesses said the man told the girlfriend — who was after yet another pair of shoes — that she had more than she could wear in a lifetime. She replied by calling him cheap and accusing him of ruining Christmas. Obviously. Eventually the man ended the spat with a seven-story plummet.

The mall spokesman said, and I can’t make this up this level of dry understatement, “This is a tragic incident but this time of year can be very stressful for many people.”

Stressful indeed.

What about the stress of putting on just the perfect show?

South Carolina police were called to a home to break up a fight between three female relatives — ages 76, 61 and 24 — who pushed and yelled over decorating the family tree. Seems two of the ladies went to work on the tree while the third went to actual work. Obviously a no-no. She must have wanted a say on where to drape the garland. At the end of the scuffle, police said the family made amends, that is after an ambulance was called because the eldest of the ladies worried about her blood pressure.

Those with rock-solid views on the winter holidays have plenty to test the limits of their blood pressure without family members bickering over the best tree topper. First there’s Megyn Kelly insisting Santa is white which will either annoy you for the narrow race view or annoy you that the conversation is even news.

Then there’s the new “holiday stamps” which includes Kwanzaa and Hanukkah but somehow leaves out Christmas. The contingent that gets angry at “X-mas” and “Happy Holidays” and “winter break” probably just blew a blood vessel. In the post office’s defense, the ad for the stamps does show a gingerbread house along with the Hanukkah candles and the open book of Kwanzaa but there is no actual holiday named spelled out. Frankly, what else did people think the gingerbread house represented — Labor Day?

But if saying “Merry Christmas” is a key ingredient to the holidays, head over to Texas where a Republican state representative is sponsoring a measure removing legal risks from exchanging holiday greetings in classes and protects holiday symbols at school. The law also makes it unconstitutional for schools to favor one religion over the other and yet, interestingly, is named in the honor of Christmas.

I guess when you send out that news, don’t use a postage stamp.

And then there are those who think the bit about the holidays being merry and bright means a good old-fashioned shiner. And by those I mean Santa.

Over the weekend, about eight men partying it up at a New York SantaCon took the idea of Christmas spirits a little too literally and ended up brawling with each other in the snow. Then, they did what any good Santa would do. They posted the footage on YouTube so that everybody tired of stop motion animation Rudolph flicks and “A Christmas Story” can start a new holiday viewing ritual.

Sadly for this bunch of St. Nicks, not to mention some of these other pre-holiday bruisers, their celebrating came a tad too early. Hold off until Dec. 26 and they can at least claim to be actively observing Boxing Day.

Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor:



Tags: holiday, christmas, about, blame, holidays, think,

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