Childhood ends the first time you sit on Santa's lap and see those wire earpieces connecting his beard to his head.

You can't help running across two infuriating breeds of people at this time of year: wine experts and cheese experts. I'd get a haircut from Donald Trump's barber before I'd give either of them the time of day.

My all-time favorite Nativity scene was the one on Houston Street in Greenwich Village, outside St. Anthony's Church. Neighborhood rascals kept swiping the infant Jesus, so eventually the little guy was bolted into the manger, right through his navel.

My grandmother never asked, "Did you get a nice Christmas tree?" Her only question was, "Did you bargain with the guy?" If you didn't bargain, her Christmas was ruined.

Bosses who stay at the office Christmas party longer than fifteen minutes deserve whatever happens to them.

If you don't attend the office Christmas party, you cannot file expenses for the food and drink you didn't consume. I tried that once and got a remarkably sarcastic response from payroll, along with a big red REJECTED stamp.

Romances that start at the Christmas party burn out faster than a Fourth of July sparkler.

A Christmas story almost got me fired from the New York Post. I was handed a photo of a cute little girl ice skating at the Rockefeller Center rink and told to knock out a caption. "Look what this lucky girl found under her Christmas tree - brand new skates!" I wrote. Turns out the girl was Jewish, and her enraged father called the paper, vowing to sue. I charmed my way out of it, but it wasn't easy.

George Bailey was a wonderful guy in the Christmas classic film "It's A Wonderful Life,"  but if he'd never been born Main Street in Bedford Falls - excuse me, Potterville - would have been a lot more fun on Saturday nights.

And speaking of "It's A Wonderful Life": Even with rimless glasses on her nose, her hair shoved up under a man's hat and a dowdy outfit, Donna Reed does NOT look like the homely old maid she was supposed to be if George had never been born. What a face!

Nothing ever made my nose happier than that electrical smell generated by my Lionel trains as they chugged around the tracks.

People who wait until Christmas Eve to do their shopping also did their term papers the night before and lie to the dentist about how often they floss. I applaud them, one and all.

My wife is right. The best thing about Christmas is the lights, and she ought to know. Check it out - people who visit us at night might run the risk of retina damage, but believe me, it's worth it:

xmas lights.jpg