YOU know how Christmas is a time for love and goodwill and peace on earth and all that stuff? Well forget all that, because this week I learned that it isn’t.

This week I learned that everything I thought I knew about Christmas was a lie, and I don’t just mean that Father Christmas doesn’t exist (sorry, kids — although if any kids young enough to still believe in Father Christmas are reading this ... well bloody done! And sorry for swearing).

Because in 2015 it became law to be outraged and offended by absolutely everything, I’ve realised that all those lovely Christmas songs I’ve always thought were charming and innocent are actually nasty, misogynistic, racist anthems that encourage violence, hatred and sexual deviance.

Take Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, for example. As an acquaintance pointed out on Facebook recently, it clearly encourages bullying: “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names, they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games”. To which he commented, apparently without irony, “And we wonder how bullying and bigotry starts.”

I felt so ashamed. Every Christmas I’d cheerfully sung this ditty about Rudolph and his bright red nose, never realising I was actually encouraging discrimination against ruminant mammals with facial deformities.

Of course one might say that, in the end, Rudolph wins the prize position on Santa’s sleigh precisely because of the glowing nose for which he was once mocked, so one might conclude that the song is actually about celebrating one’s differences.

But no. It’s 2015, remember? It’s definitely about bullying, and we should probably ban it in schools.

Then there’s the croony classic Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which I always thought was a romantic song about a man trying to convince his lady friend to stay the night, but which I now know actually encourages rape.

(So does kissing under the mistletoe, incidentally, so steer clear of that tomorrow too lest you be carted off by the Christmas police).

While the woman flirtingly protests — “I really can’t stay”, “My mother will start to worry” — the man persists with all the reasons she can’t leave. Namely, that it’s cold outside.

This week the Washington Post opined the song is “creepy at best, encouraging of date rape at worst”, while feminist website Jezebel decried it as “disturbing” and “predatory”.

Funnily enough, when it was first released in 1944 the song was seen as flying the flag for feminism because the woman decides to stay the night, despite the fact that “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow” among the neighbours.

But yeah, that was 71 years ago. Now it’s definitely about rape.

And let’s not forget Bing Crosby’s hit White Christmas, which is quite obviously racist.

That’s not just a bad joke, that’s an actual issue that some people are actually upset about. In a prank video that went viral this week, dozens of American university students are shown happily signing a petition to ban the song for being “insulting to people of colour”.

“It perpetuates the idea that white is naturally good and that other colours are bad, and we feel that’s a micro-aggression,” the prankster says as students nod and sign his clipboard.

The fact that these songs have all been played for decades before being harpooned by the outrage squad in the same week shows how attuned we’ve all become to harnessing indignation for sport.

It’s not about “changing attitudes”, it’s about scoring points, and it’s ridiculous — especially when everybody knows the only truly offensive Christmas song is Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime.

Don’t want to offend anyone this Christmas? The easiest option might be a silent night.


First published in The Advertiser, December 24, 2015. CLICK HERE to read the original article