Christmas comes but once a year but it’s one time too many for some.
While the Ebenezer Scrooges of this world make up a small part of the population, they are certainly persistent and can be found throughout history.
Here are 4 classic cases of notorious party poopers who humbugged their way through the holiday season…
No Love for an Elvis Christmas
The King of Rock & Roll became the King of Jingle Bells in 1957, after releasing the classic disc Elvis’s Christmas Album. Yet many in the radio establishment weren’t impressed. A stand was being taken against the perceived low morals of this new and exciting form of music.
Program manager Bruce Dennis, quoted in the book Is Rock Dead? by Kevin J.H. Dettmar (2005), said “eight out of ten numbers are trash not acceptable for radio presentation.”
One voice of note was DJ Dick Whittinghill. He refused to play Elvis’s hits on station KMPC, and the advent of the festive season wasn’t going to swerve him from his chosen path.
The PDX Radio website draws attention to a vintage excerpt from Billboard Magazine. Whittinghill “answered a request to play the Presley album, with ‘No, I won’t play it. That’s like having Tempest Storm (stripper) give Christmas gifts to my kids.’”
As a result, listeners were deprived of such controversial offerings as Oh Little Town of Bethlehem!
This was serious business — at one point Al Priddy of KEX reportedly lost his job for placing Presley’s White Christmas on the decks. The spirit of Scrooge was alive and well on the airwaves of America it seems.
Bay Colony Bauble Bashers
English Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell was hated for apparently banning Christmas in the mid-17th century. However, some argue it was the Puritan movement he emboldened who were the true Grinches.
As written on the Historic England website, “Although Cromwell himself did not initiate the banning of Christmas, his rise to power certainly resulted in the promotion of measures that severely curtailed such celebrations.”
The Puritan movement had also crossed the Pond, where they caused festive chaos. In 1630 they landed in America, bringing with them the tough approach of their homeland.
A 2015 History.com article writes, “Christmas in the 1600s was hardly a silent night, let alone a holy one. More befitting a rowdy spring break than a sacred occasion.” Colonists saw evil in their stocking rather than oranges.
Despite the season’s religious aspect, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony clamped down on festivities. This influence spanned the centuries, with the state finally accepting Christmas as a public holiday in 1856.
As the first person to be put in charge of the World Health Organization, Brock Chisholm knew a thing or two about well being. Unfortunately, his expertise didn’t extend to Christmas wishes.
The Canadian psychiatrist’s reputation took a knock when he warned parents against telling kids about Santa Claus.
Quoted in the book Brock Chisholm, the World Health Organization, and the Cold War by John Farley (2008), he went as far as saying “Any man who tells his son” such things “is contributing directly to the next war.”
Chisholm reckoned that under these circumstances a boy could easily become the type of person who “develops a sore back when there is a tough job to do, and refuses to think realistically when war threatens.”
Ironically the affair earned him the nickname “Santa Claus Man.”
A Biercing Scream
The American scribe Ambrose Bierce had his illusions shattered about Christmas at an early age. Reportedly he didn’t take kindly to finding out Santa was made up, despite his mother’s assertions.
When it came to the season of goodwill, Bierce was as bitter as a turkey basted in creosote. He penned a poem concerning this festive fury, An Unmerry Christmas, which was printed in his Collected Works (1908).
“For Christmas, greetings are like pots of ore,” he wrote. “The hollower they are they ring the more.”
Bierce was so disappointed that he carried a hatred of his mother into adulthood. It goes to show an angry child can grow into a truly miserly man.