You’ve been tapped to play Santa Claus this year, the most beloved bearded man on the planet.

This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Properly projecting the triplet of “Ho’s” will require core strength. Properly responding to a kid who’s just asked you to save his house from foreclosure requires a good excuse to take a five-minute break. Parents and children alike are depending on you. (As are the 12 “little people” you hired as elves.)

To help with your preparation, we’ve drawn up a few rules and provided real-life cautionary tales of what happens when those rules aren’t followed.

Let’s begin with a mall Santa in Florida whose beard got tangled as he repelled down five flights to a horrified crowd of pint-sized onlookers.

RULE #1: Don’t get cute when scheming your entrance.

RULE #2: Seriously, don’t get cute when scheming your entrance.

RULE #3: Don’t join the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas (“Act 3”).

RULE #4: Don’t matter-of-factly inform a 4-year-old girl that she’s on the naughty list this year.

RULE #5: Don’t employ the German/Dutch custom of hitting kids with a stick and leading them away in chains.

RULE #6: Don’t tell a class of second-graders that Santa is complete bullshit.

Oh, and remember: the song isn’t called “Here Comes Drunk Santa Claus.”

—C.B.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • C. Brian Smith