Grandma may have escaped that perennially reckless reindeer this year, but somebody with a pellet gun got the better of a guy playing Santa in southeast DC, reports the Washington Post. "Man, this is awesome," Xavier Hawkins was crowing just before he was shot in the back yesterday at an event to give out presents to 800 needy children. (The whole thing was caught on camera by a WJLA cameraman.) Fortunately, Hawkins suffered only a welt, and his helpers immediately stepped up to distribute gifts. Police haven't made any arrests, but the story ends well enough and with no shortage of Christmas spirit: "One of the first things the officer did was question the Grinch," jokes an event organizer. "He told the officer he didn’t have anything to do with this."
As for Hawkins, who was quickly treated and released from a local hospital only to return as the last gifts were being handed out, the incident hasn't even dented his enthusiasm. People "all asked me the same question: ‘Santa, are you coming back next year?’ I told them, 'Sure I am, God willing.'"