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A ‘Late Show’ writer offers a hilarious new take on the story of Santa.

A fresh take on Santa's life at home has a devoted fanbase.

A ‘Late Show’ writer offers a hilarious new take on the story of Santa.

Like all great literary works these days, "Santa's Husband" started out as a joke on Twitter.

The year was 2016, and racists were responding ridiculously over the fact that for four days, one of the Santas at the Mall of America would be *gasp* black. Responding to the outrage on Twitter, "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" writer Daniel Kibblesmith joked that he and his wife, author Jennifer Ashley Wright, will teach their future children that Santa is black ... and gay (just for good measure).

Illustrator AP Quach saw the tweet, pitched Kibblesmith on it as a children's book, and almost a year later, "Santa's Husband" is available for purchase in bookstores near you. The book itself tells the story of the home life of Santa (who, again, is black) and his husband (who is white, but often gets mistaken for Santa when he goes to help his husband out at mall appearances).


Here it is! The Twitter thread that started it all. Image from Twitter.

What began as a way to troll the Megyn Kellys of the world has become a really cute book with a pretty dedicated fanbase.

Sure, it still made some people pretty angry — like the person on Twitter who was upset that "[Tim Allen] did NOT OK this book" and they demanded that Kibblesmith "leave Santa ALONE," or another person who wanted to know, "Where is the respect for tradition? The ideology of gender is going to [sic] far!"

If you ask Kibblesmith about it, however, he'll tell you that there have been some pretty heartwarming and positive reactions as well.

Kibblesmith and Quach. Images courtesy of Daniel Kibblesmith.

In an email, Kibblesmith recounts one of the more heartwarming receptions the book received on video from a two-mom household and their toddler walking through a Target. "Looking at a coffee mug shaped like a traditional white Santa Claus, they ask [their daughter], 'Who's this?' and she says, 'It's Santa's husband!'" he writes.

"We also got an incredibly kind note from the chef and author Michael Twitty, who is black, gay, Jewish, and has a white partner," continues Kibblesmith. "They're gifting the book to his partner's one-year-old nephew this year, and it's inspiring that this child will grow up with a much bigger view of the world and the people in it."

The only thing better than milk and cookies is sharing them with the one you love. Illustration by AP Quach.

The goal of the book was to go beyond just trolling for angry responses, Kibblesmith stresses. The book could have easily been "a dashed-off, one-joke reaction to someone else's knee-jerk reaction," but he really wanted to write something that put a little happiness into the world, to add positive value, and to craft something heartfelt and sentimental.

"Our book stands alone as a complete, funny, heartwarming Christmas story, totally agnostic of any specific 'War on Christmas' talking points, and I think that's what makes it work."

Just like regular couples, Mr. and Mr. Claus have their fair share of arguments. Illustration by AP Quach.

In a way, "Santa's Husband" helps highlight the best parts of Christmas and all other December celebrations.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, or something else entirely, the end of the year is a great time to reflect on who we are, what our values are, and what we can do to bring joy to friends and loved ones in the new year. Maybe "Santa's Husband" isn't your thing, and that's totally cool. For some people, however — such as the joyful girl with her moms in Target — this book gives them a sense of warmth and joy.

Isn't that what the holidays are really all about?

People can order "Santa's Husband" from Harper Collins. For more information, follow @Kibblesmith on Twitter.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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