December 20, 2010 | 6:30am
As a public service to compulsive drinkers, on Mondays, we usually give you a breakdown of all the obscure holidays you could be celebrating that week. This week, however, there's no need for that, because this week heralds the coming of the granddaddy of all holidays: Boxing Day, the Canadian holiday where rich people give presents to the poor to supplant the crappy presents they gave each other the day before on Christmas! Oh, and Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of some guy.
For real, though, there's really no other reason you need to get started on a week-long bender right now -- but as we all know, excessive drunkenness loves weirdness, so this week we're bringing you a few oddball Christmas traditions you can use to distract people from the fact that there is vomit all over your pantleg.
Yule Log: This one will not work with the yule log they broadcast on public access, but as long as you have a real-life log and a place to burn it (which, let's face it, can be anywhere), you can practice the Catalonian tradition of the caga tió (literally: "pooping log"), where you beat a log with sticks until it shits out a herring. And no, we are not even making this up.
Vigilanteism: Logs aren't the only thing with Christmastime precedent for getting beat. In Austria, a dude called "Krampus" serves as a sort of bizarro-Santa; while Santa administers presents to the nice, Krampus administers pummelings to the naughty. No joke: It's a tradition for people dressed as Krampus to roam the streets and frighten children with stick-beatings. What is it with Europeans and beating stuff with sticks?
Voyeurism: Similarly, Belgium boasts two Santa Clauses, St. Nicholas and Pere Noel, St. Nicholas being the enforcer. Instead of administering beatings to the naughty, though, he just collects dirt on them, J. Edgar Hoover-style, reporting his findings back to the Pere.
Public defecation: The caga tió isn't the only weird Catalonian Christmas tradition involving feces -- no, really, it isn't. Catalonian Christmas lore also includes a character called "el caganer," typically depicted offset from the nativity scene, in the act of crapping on the street -- it's not certain how the tradition began, but one explanation is that the caganer fertilizes the ground for the growing season. Go ahead, see if it works on the cops.
And if you don't end up in jail, Merry Christmas.