Merry freaking Christmas.

Austin, like many other cities, has a program that gets the police department involved in collecting toys and getting them to poor kids. Here, we call this “Blue Santa“.

The “Blue Santa” program started in 1972. Before that, we had an organization called the Christmas Bureau of Austin and Travis County. For as long as I’ve lived in Austin, these two organizations have collaborated closely.

Not this year. The Christmas Bureau, as you may have guessed if you clicked on the link above, seems to have packed up their manager and slunk off into the night, leaving the Blue Santa people holding Santa’s bag.

What happened? That’s still not clear, but the police are investigating. Part of the issue may have to do with new leadership at the Christmas Bureau: the previous leader passed away last year, and the new guy has what we like to describe as a “colorful” history. This includes an arrest for meth possession after an encounter with police in the parking lot of one of our finer local strip clubs this past August (which, of course, does not imply his guilt in this affair, but does make one think).

In the meantime, the Blue Santa folks are trying to fill the gap, if you feel like helping.

Edited to add: It looks like the Christmas Bureau website is working again (it was giving a “500 Internal Server Error”) but hasn’t been updated since last December.

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