In the run up to Christmas, we take a look at the weirdest rules and regulations surrounding Santa-time from around the world.
1. It is illegal not to reply to any kid (or adult for that matter) that writes to Father Christmas in France. And Santa has been keeping up with technological advances; he’s a keyboard warrior too, replying (by law) to over a million email requests each year.
2. Christmas was straight up cancelled and banned in England between 1643 and 1660, as the kill-joys of the Puritanical Church decided it was a day of mourning and solemnity and not a massive pissup with presents. Rude.
3. New York City prohibits the display of all natural Christmas trees in retail stores, as they are deemed a fire hazard. Nah, we’re not buying it- they probably just figured out how damn hard it is to clean up all the needles.
4. In Michigan, it’s illegal to transport a freshly cut Christmas tree on a car roof without having proof of sale. A bit specific, but ok; we’re all for preventing unnecessary tree hacking.
5. Last year, a primary school in Nebraska banned candy canes because, in their own words “historically, the shape of the candy cane is a ‘J’ for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection.” Well that took a dark turn! And there I was thinking their biggest crime was being delicious and ruining my teeth. The school also banned reindeer, christmas songs and all red and green items. Green Lantern must have been fuming.
6. The fun-loving Nazis were encouraged to celebrate Christmas but had to place a swastika on top of the tree. It wasn’t uncommon to hang replica grenades and machine guns from the branches. Because nothing says the season of good will like a big old gun with a side-serving of xenophobia.
7. And last but very much not least, the prize for the dumbest rule of all goes to the US of A. Since 2011, a 15¢ tax has been added to the sale of every Christmas tree in the United States. The purpose of the tax is to fund a marketing program to improve the image of Christmas trees. Ok, it’s only levied on wholesalers, but still, it’s really dumb. Also it makes no sense- who on earth is bad-mouthing Christmas trees to the point that the government had to intervene with a marketing program?
So there you have it- bizarre rules from across the Globe for the festive period.