The fact that the Media Matters archives contain nearly 250 matches (stretching over seven years) when searching "Fox News War on Christmas" confirms the story has become a true evergreen. And yes, the charade has progressed to the point of becoming a running joke among comedians. And even journalists now acknowledge Fox News is just playing games with the topic.
Nonetheless, the War on Christmas will remain in heavy seasonal rotation as long as there is a Fox News.
Like the Nutcracker, the War on Christmas is an annual production that (Fox) fans look forward to. It's like having the Land of Sweets scenery stored in a warehouse and in late November the trucks are dispatched to bring back the backdrops and the costumes. The difference here is that at Fox, the only props needed are talking points dressed up as Factor scripts.
And yes, people who work at Fox have seen the production schedule and know when to start prepping for the War on Christmas staging. Recall what a former Fox News insider told Media Matters earlier this year about the incessant need to manufacture us-against-them stories of cultural combat [emphasis added]:
"It was a kick ass mentality too," says the former Fox News insider. "It was relentless and it never went away. If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas."