Merry Christmas — from Carmine, with anger

I’m madder than an acrophobic reindeer who’s forced to pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve over the fact that it is once again what I like to call “that horrible time of the year.” Again.

Look, you all know that whenever Santa needed a stand-in at a school or community event because he was tied up with work at the North Pole, he would give the Screecher a call, and I would happily — and magically — be transformed into Jolly Old St. Nick. I did this for years for the big man, because I knew that it kept me on his “nice” list, even though some of the things I did during the year could be classified as “naughty.”

But no more.

You wanna know why? No? Then try to find something more interesting to read in this newspaper (or website). Ha! He’ll be back!

Here’s why I can no longer stand Christmas, and be prepared to settle in, because I’m about to make a long story endless.

In my day, it was only permissible to greet people this time of year with a hearty “Happy Holidays” because Christmas and New Years were just a week apart, everybody celebrated them, and both were (and are) national holidays.

Everybody loved Christmas! Why? Because everybody loved getting Christmas presents, Christmas bonuses, Christmas cards and Christmas tips.

But then, something happened. People who couldn’t spell started changing the “Christ” in “Christmas” to an “X.”

Now I don’t need to get into the logistics of this and dig into the whys, hows, and wherefores of this phenomenon (apparently, according to the Wackopedia, which somehow replaced my trusty old Funk and Wagnall’s that me and the misses picked up week after week at the Pathmark as my go-to place for information, it has something to do with “X” meaning “Christ” in some foreign language that I don’t speak), and that upset some church-goers who began demanding the public “keep Christ in Christmas.”

Of course, this whole Christmas-Xmas dispute disrupted the heralding of peace, which was bad enough, but then things got worse.

Sometime a few years back, the Board of Education decided to change all references to “Christmas” to “Holiday” at city schools. That meant “Merry Christmas” would be replaced with “Happy Holidays,” and the “Christmas Show” would be called the “Holiday Show.”

And that’s when I stopped stepping in for Santa at schools!

Now let me give you my top-10 reasons why my love of Christmas has slowly disintegrated like Daffy Duck’s disintegrating pistol:

1) Gaudy Christmas cards that spew sprinkles all over your face, body, clothes, and house when you open them up. These annoying, long-lasting sprinkles are so annoying and long-lasting, you end up finding them floating in the swimming pool in the summertime!

2) All those Christmas shows with withered old actors who used to be handsome icons. I saw one on the Hallmark channel with former James Bond star Roger Moore playing a grumpy grandfather poo-pooing a Christmas tree. Seeing a shriveled-up Simon Templar made me feel a million years old. Make it stop!

3) The liars on QVC and the Home Shopping network who promise you delivery before Christmas, and then never deliver! I fall for that one every year!

4) The horrified look of disappointment on your kid’s face when he opens your gift — and it isn’t the toy he wanted! Be happy I got you anything, you little whippersnapper!

5) When your teen expects to get the high-tech toy that everybody else wants, and she’s not happy with the knock-off you got because you wanted to save a couple bucks. Worse, the kid then calls you a cheapskate!

7) When I have to go to the store to return all those presents that I didn’t like! Good thing instead of standing in line, I get to sit on Tornado!

To quote Ebenezer Scroodge: “Bah humbug!”

But you now something? You all should have a very, Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

And I’ll try to get past these things, and try to as well!

Screech at you next week!

Carmine Santa Maria once played the Grinch and Scrooge back-to-back, on the same day, in off-Broadway productions of “A Christmas Carol” and that Dr. Seuss story. Read his screech every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com.