Carl Hiaasen

The “War on Christmas” is as big a fiction as Santa Claus (Sorry, kids . . .)

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‘Tis the season when Fox News patriotically reminds us that there’s a sinister “War on Christmas” being waged in America and around the globe.

We might not know about this shocking liberal plot if it weren’t for Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and the now-retired Bill O’Reilly, who encouraged female employees to sit on his lap year-round, even when he wasn’t playing Santa Claus.

Missing from Fox’s energetic coverage of the war are names, ranks or an organizational chart. Not to minimize the menace, but whoever is actually in command of this conspiracy is doing an incredibly lame job of killing the Yule spirit.

Just a few days ago, former President Obama put on a Santa hat and delivered actual Christmas presents to patients at a children’s hospital in Washington, D.C.

What the hell, Tucker? To conservatives, no man symbolizes the rotten left-wing plague more than Obama — so why is he out there promoting this sacred Christian celebration?

Perhaps Obama’s visit to the hospital was merely a sly charade, but the kids sure looked happy to see him. Loyal fans of Fox News still await an explanation of how such a seemingly warm-hearted gesture helps fuel the War on Christmas.

To reassure viewers that the battle is real, Fox commentators have zeroed in on a few recent events. One is the decision by the Scottish parliament to rename “gingerbread men” as “gingerbread persons” in its coffee shop.

This is so dumb that it’s hard to summon even mild indignation, much less outrage. No child in the United Kingdom — or anywhere on the planet — pays attention to the Scottish parliament.

The idea that Christmas tradition is threatened by gender-neutral cookies is difficult to take seriously in the context of an all-out cultural war. Fox News is trying hard, but it’s got to come up with something more ominous than a tray of baked goods in Holyrood, Scotland.

Another hot topic this December is the banning by some radio stations of a 1944 ditty called “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The lyrics have been criticized because they depict a man trying to persuade a reluctant date into staying with him on a winter night instead of going home to her parents.

He asks the woman to have one more drink, and in the movie version, “Neptune’s Daughter,” he chases her around the room — probably not a scene that would appear lightheartedly in a film today, during the post-Harvey Weinstein era.

Some people say it’s suggestive of a date-rape situation. Others say the lyrics describe harmless flirtation, nothing more.

Although “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is considered a Yule-time song, the lyrics don’t even mention the holiday. And when’s the last time you heard carolers sing it at your door?

Whoever is in charge of the War on Christmas should have attacked one of the cherished classics like “Silent Night” or even “White Christmas” — there’s a slam-dunk for all those leftist holiday-wreckers.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know a single verse of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Bad choice, anti-Christmas warriors.

Yet another flimsy furor surrounds “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the animated movie that remains a treasured favorite 54 years after its debut.

Somebody posted a video on Huffington Post purporting to peel back the story’s grim themes of bullying (by Rudolph’s fellow reindeers) and verbal abuse by parents (in this case, Rudolph’s dad).

Millions have viewed the clip, which proves only that lots of adults would rather do anything other than drive to the outlet mall this time of year. The fake controversy has boosted rentals and purchases of the Rudolph movie, which is the opposite result of what the Scrooge-infested left should theoretically want.

The truth is that Christmas is bigger than ever, and the closest thing to a war-time experience is the shopping stampedes on Black Friday. Almost every town has at least one tree lot, festively decorated main streets, a battalion of bell-ringers from the Salvation Army and a parade with Santa riding in a mid-sized convertible.

And almost every town has at least one neighborhood where two families are dueling over which has the most elaborate, retina-frying light display. Like me, you probably already saw the video on your local Fox TV station.

Most stores are packed, most churches are full. No Christmas-lovers are cowering in shame or fear. It’s so confusing — where is this insidious war?

And can you guys step it up, just so Tucker and the gang don’t look so desperate?

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