Nothing dampens the festive spirit like a spot of illegal activity. Or, if you’re like me and have a morbid fascination with all things criminal, nothing else lifts it.

So, hoist your Xmas lunch gut onto a table, kick up your feet, and enjoy a brief history of the season’s most cooked crimes on us.

CHRISTMAS TREE TURNS OUT TO BE GIANT POT PLANT

Chilean woman Angelica Navarro Pereira, 50, was busted by police after they discovered her Chrimbo tree was actually 1.9-metre pot plant surrounded by presents. Everybody now: “Oh Litmas tree, oh litmas treeeeeeeee.” 

 
 
IRL GRINCH LOCKED UP FOR TELLING KIDS SANTA DOESN’T EXIST
The annual Santa Claus parade in Kingston, Ontario, is typically a joyous affair: festive lights, floats, and a visit from the Fat Man himself get the locals feeling festive. But the 2012 event took a turn for the worst when a 24-year-old bloke got drunk, “slicked his hair back with gel into the shape of devil horns,” and announced to every kid within earshot that Santa isn’t real.
He was arrested for causing a disturbance – said disturbance being the screams of hundreds of under-7s – as well as public intoxication and a probation violation.
BAD DAD STUFFS KIDS IN CAR BOOT LIKE UNWANTED GIFTS

William Benton, a responsible father hailing from the city of Lancaster in Texas, was en route to the local Christmas parade in 2012 when he was stopped for driving a car with stolen plates. That’s when officers discovered four kids under the age of 11 stuffed in the trunk. He was arrested on the spot, but grumbled that they were only in there for “transport purposes”, which is both fair and reasonable. 

OVEREXCITED KID GETS ARRESTED FOR OPENING HIS PRESENTS EARLY
How do you teach a lesson to a child who won’t heed your warnings about opening Xmas presents too early? You have ’em locked up. Obviously. That’s what happened to a 12-year-old South Carolina kid back in 2006, after his Mum called the cops when she learnt he’d unwrapped a siq Nintendo Game Boy Advance from his ‘ol Nan a few weeks early. According to a police report, he was arrested for petty larceny.
Parenting goals, tbh.
DUDE GETS HIGH AND DECORATES HIS NEIGHBOUR’S HOME WITHOUT PERMISSION
 

Back in 2011, a guy called Terry Trent of Dayton, Ohio, got blasted on bath salts, broke into his neighbour’s house and decked it out in Xmas finery. As well as hanging a wreath on the garage door and arranging candles on the coffee and kitchen tables, he also helped himself to some of the presents under the tree. Trent had only the best intentions, but home invasion is illegal – even at Christmastime.

SNAKES ARE STOLEN FOR THE GIFT NO ONE WANTED

The owner of Delta Pets, in the Louisiana city of Slidell, was shocked to find the back door of his business had been pried open in December of 2011. On entering, he realised the cash register was missing… along with a $600 Ball Python and two Boa snakes. Donald Laigast Jr, 31, was later arrested and charged with the burglary, telling cops he stole the sneks as a Christmas present for his son.
A SANTA-STYLE BURGLARY GOES BUST

Seattle dude and apparent Saint Nick wannabee Shon Shanell earned himself a free pass to prison, not the North Pole, after he tried breaking into a house via the chimney during Xmas of 2010.

He got stuck and local firefighters had to chip away at the bricks for 45 minutes before the 23-year-old – who then claimed he was only trying to fish out his dropped backpack – went free.

Did we mention he was nude? Imagine the grazing.

XMAS SHOPPERS ARE ATTACKED WITH A LIGHTSABER

If you’ve ever been to a Westfield in the month of December, you know it’s not safe: screaming kids and frazzled shoppers with no spatial awareness and death stares. Cops in Portland, Oregon, received a 911 call from the manager of a Toys “R” Us store in 2011, who said a dude had assaulted three customers doing their Xmas shopping with a lightsaber.
Officers tried to arrest him on arrival at the scene but – just like Luke Skywalker – he wouldn’t quit swinging. One tried to use his Taser on the suspect and made contact, but he knocked one of the wires away WITH THE SABER.
The force was strong with that one.
 
Image: Bad Santa