Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Top five holiday-related crimes

The holiday season is a time for sharing, spreading peace, and promoting goodwill… but it’s also a time went tempers fray, people over-indulge and the outright criminal elements of society take advantage of spirit of the season to wreak havoc. Here are five of the most appalling holiday crimes, from opening presents early, right through to Santacide (not really).

1. Away in a manger

The most heinous holiday crime of all (barring shipping Santa off to Guantanamo Bay) is the abduction of baby Jesus himself. Before you imagine the three wise men in a Baby’s Day Out type scenario – I’m talking about a plastic nativity Jesus. These figurines are regularly stolen from nativity scenes all over the world, prompting one Indianapolis nursing home to install a GPS tracking devices on Jesus’ manger. In his autobiography, rock star Marilyn Manson admits to a spree of baby Jesus thefts as a teenager. Manson replaced the figurines with a ham and contacted a local paper posing as a black radical group supposedly protesting against “the plasticisation of the black man’s wisdom with the so-called White Christmas.”

2. Be good for Christmas sake!

I’m sure we’ve all been caught peeling back the wrapping paper on a gift to get a glimpse of what’s inside, or inspecting the contours of a package, trying to guess if it’s a Buzz Lightyear or just new socks. As long you don’t actually open it – it’s fine right? One little angel from South Carolina went a step further. After opening his new Game Boy several weeks early, the boy was charged with petty larceny when his mother called the police. Rumour has it Santa has also put the boy permanently on the naughty list.

3. A not so precious load…

A Christmas market in Spain was the setting for a nativity scene tainted with regret and accidental animal slaughter in 2014. An obese local resident climbed into the ‘living nativity scene’ at the market and posed for a photo astride a miniature donkey. Baby Jesus’ Christmas companion was actually a baby donkey named Platero and died later from severe internal injuries. The local man responsible for killing the donkey didn’t escape public shame as the image quickly went viral. The overweight man wearing festive green pants was later made known to the authorities and was said to be deeply sorry for the Christmas prank gone wrong.

4. This is a ho ho hold-up!

‘The Santa Claus Bank Robbery’ as it has become known is a heist worthy of a Christmas movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. The bank robbery took place on 23 December 1927 in Texas. The mastermind of the heist, Marshall Ratcliff, walked into a Texas bank dressed as Santa Claus accompanied by two other ex-cons. The plot was foiled by a customer and her two daughters who wanted to meet Santa but after seeing that he and his helpers were heavily armed, ran into the street and raised the alarm. In 1927 Texas, bank robberies were occurring at a rate of 3-4 a day, and a $5000 reward had been offered to anyone who shot a bank robber during a robbery. With the town residents alerted to the heist, the Santa Claus’ crime outfit were met with a hail of bullets as they made their escape. Over a hundred shots were fired by armed residents who had rushed to the hardware store to grab rifles. Despite the armed militia outside, the gang managed to escape leading to the biggest manhunt in Texas history.

5. The Grinch who stole Christmas

The Christmas crime that has caused the most fatalities (if we include the death of childhood innocence) is the case of the man in Kingston, Ontario who ruined the Santa Claus parade by telling children Santa wasn’t real. The inebriated local man had a little too much Christmas cheer and after moulding his hair into the shape of two horns, proceeded to work his way down the street and systematically tell children Santa ‘isn’t real.’ He must have had too much to drink if he seriously didn’t believe in Santa! Needless to say, he was arrested for a breach of the peace after leaving a trail of distraught children in his wake.

Header image credit: Winter Wintry Snow landscape by Cocoparisienne. CC0 via Pixabay.

Recent Comments

There are currently no comments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *