Alabama censored Santa this year.
Dave Reid, a professional Santa, has used his vehicle to spread Christmas cheer for years. His 1999 4Runner had the phrase “My other ride is a sleigh” emblazoned across the back, vanity plates saying, “Ho Ho.”
But this year, when Santa went to renew his license plate, the Alabama Department of Revenue initially turned him down, claiming “Ho Ho” was offensive, according to Montgomery’s WSFA 12, the local NBC affiliate.
Santa was saddened.
“When you live with the spirit of Christmas year round, when you project that spirit to the children, where ever you meet them, whenever you meet them, it’s a slap in the face when a government entity says that’s offensive,” Santa told the news channel. “How far do we go with that? It’s really crazy.”
The Alabama Department of Revenue has banned 6,000 plates it deems offensive, including “DIE,” “SHOOTEM,” “0HALENO,” “1MGAY,” “13ITCH.” (In fact, WSFA 12 has a whole slideshow of forbidden license plates.)
Santa said “Ho Ho” made the state’s naughty list—while somehow, “UA HOE” was deemed nice enough for Alabama.
Santa first tried reaching out to the Alabama Department of Revenue to appeal. Frustrated, he sought some holiday help from the local news channel. Their elf-like intervention delivered results.
“After a manual review, the tag was actually approved,” said Frank Miles, a spokesman for the Alabama, noting that Santa was thrilled with the outcome.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.