STANWOOD — He grew up experiencing a unique sort of playground taunt.
“Kids would call me anything but Christmas. They would call me Easter or Thanksgiving. That got me into a lot of fights,” the Stanwood man said Monday. “The older I got, the more respect I got. Nobody teased me about my last name.”
At 49, Danny Christmas has long been accustomed to his attention-getting surname.
“It’s been my name my whole life, so it’s pretty normal,” said Christmas, who works for Senior Aerospace AMT in Arlington.
Unusual but not unheard of, the last name Christmas shows up in sports and politics, literature and the movies.
Joe Christmas is a key character — literary types see him as Christ-like — in the William Faulkner novel “Light in August.”
Dionte Christmas plays professional basketball in Europe.
The late Randall “Randy” Christmas was once mayor of Miami.
None of that helps Danny Christmas figure out the origin of his last name.
“My dad did some research. We’re English, Danish, Dutch and Russian — and 100 percent German on my mother’s side,” said Christmas, who is divorced and has a 9-year-old son, George Christmas.
His sister, whose name changed when she married, has done some searching for their Christmas roots on Ancestry.com. According to one online source, Surnamedb.com, the name has been linked to both a job description of people who arranged festivities long ago and to a Christmas birthday.
With Christmas as a last name, first names can be fun. The Stanwood man said his uncle’s first wife was named Mary, “then they divorced and he married another Mary Christmas.”
Raised in Denver, Danny Christmas said his father was a firefighter in Lakewood, Colorado. “My dad used to play Santa Claus. They had a big Christmas thing at the firehouse,” he said.
He hasn’t played Santa yet, but expects it won’t be long before his beard turns white.
At his son’s school, Twin City Elementary, “they call me Mr. Christmas,” he said. “I’m Danny, not mister. My dad is Mr. Christmas.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.