During this season of boundless joy, know this: Santa’s also got a dark underbelly, that might just have you saying Ho! Hell! No!
For starters, ‘tis the season to have your identity stolen. 38% of data breaches happen during the holidays – probably thanks to your online holiday shopping. We get it, you hate crowds, so you hunker down at Starbucks with your laptop and a quad-spiced-whipped-whatever-the-hell and knock out your entire gift list. Okay, well, DON’T. It’s the fastest way to get your info hacked. Instead, do your online shopping the way God intended; at home, in bed, after calling in (cough cough) sick.
If you have the chutzpah to brave the stores in person, you could get trampled by a herd of rabid shoppers. Trying to score the best deals on things they don’t need and can’t afford, these spreaders of good cheer inflict severe injuries and sometimes even deaths. Every year the Black Friday Stampede toll rises, with reports of 118 people injured and 11 killed since 2006. Sure, that’s worth it.
Okay then, let’s just play it safe and take the kids to meet Santa. Not so fast –– or so safe. Over 270 children were involved in Santa-related injuries between 2007 and 2016, either injured from falling off Santa’s lap or trying to run away from a stand-in Saint Nick in an over-crowded mall. I’m with the kids on this one. I just remember the Mall Santa being angry and bitter, with a beard that stinks of beef jerky.
Then on your peaceful drive home, you might be treated to the other kind of holiday bird, courtesy of holiday road-rage. You’re more likely to get the middle-finger salute around Christmas; 61% of drivers surveyed last year saying they suffered some kind of verbal or gestural display of anger while driving. And much like holiday joy, it’s infectious: 50% of people who encounter aggressive driving behavior will respond to it in kind. (It’s like showing the sign of peace, only the opposite.)
But take heart; it’ll all be over soon! Before you know it, Santa Claus will be forgotten and it’ll be Easter… and you’ll be rushing Fido to the vet for eating a 5lb foot-tall chocolate bunny.