This British holiday tradition kicks America’s Yuletide ass

American holiday activities are worse than coal in a stocking.

Each year, we schlep to super malls and force crying children to pose with creeper Santas. We trudge to local productions of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” that are as stiff as Dickens’ cadaver. And here in New York, a family of five will spend as much as $800 to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, an annual event featuring the Rockettes that’s more of a checklist item than a jolly time.

But Britain has been doing Christmas right for centuries — with booze, laughs and riotous irreverence. They perform pantomimes.

I recently saw my first, “Snow White” at the London Palladium, and was pleasantly shocked. The family show was raunchy, star-studded, filthy, extravagant, naughty, dazzling, double-entendre-stuffed, heartwarming. Did I love it? Oh, yes I did!

You’ll hear that phrase, or something like it, a lot during these high-energy shows, in which the audience is expected to participate and shout, full-throated, back at the actors. The age-old tradition borrows the framework of a few popular children’s stories — Peter Pan, Dick Whittington, Aladdin — adds in celebrities, pop songs, variety acts and, in the case of “Snow White,” enough sex jokes to make Joan Rivers blush.

Most of the sly humor of “Snow White” comes from comedian Julian Clary, a stick-thin mischief-maker with a serpentine voice. In director Michael Harrison’s hilarious production, he plays The Man in the Mirror — as in “Mirror, Mirror on the wall” — and dons more than 20 delectably campy costumes with looking glass shards, ornaments and feathers. The best has his head pop out of a giant Christmas tree.

The Mirror belongs to the evil Queen Dragonella, played by comedy legend Dawn French of “French and Saunders.”

Something you probably don’t do at your local Christmas concert is violently heckle the carolers. Here, we are expected to “Boooo!” the Queen as loudly as possible as she flirts with Snow White’s Prince (Charlie Stemp, as dashing as he was in Broadway’s “Hello, Dolly!”). “I get paid by the boo,” French says onstage. The Queen wants to steal of the stud away from Snow White (Danielle Hope) and marry him. Of course, Clary also wants to nab the Prince for his own self-explanatory purposes.

However, the plot is simply a vehicle for non-stop mirth and enormity.

The production is filled with jubilant dances and massive ornate scenery. There is a mechanical dragon that makes the dragon time clock at “Wicked” look like a pocket watch.

“America’s Got Talent” winner ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and his dummy make an adorable pair of heroes, and accomplished actor Nigel Havers’ gag is that he’s Clary’s mistreated understudy. At one point Havers is flown in from the rafters, only to be told to go right back up. Another irresistible bit involves a song with spoons drumming on metal cups that have been cheekily placed on men’s midsections. How refreshing, I thought, to see a holiday show that values entertainment and joy over worthiness and obligation.

The panto was jam-packed, but when I left in that mob of humanity I was overjoyed at what I’d just seen. Returning to work two days later, blocks away from Rockefeller Center, I encountered a different crowd, brutishly shoving each other to be closest to the Christmas tree from “Home Alone 2.” I decided then and there that I prefer my conifers with a smutty comedian’s head in them.

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