John Waters and Christmas shouldn’t go together so well, but somehow they just do. It could be because the twisted Baltimore-based filmmaker and the holiday are both exuberantly tacky at times. Or because, since 2000, the auteur behind “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” has performed his one-man holiday stage show, “A John Waters Christmas,” more than 200 times in cities across the U.S. — addressing such pressing questions as “Is Prancer the only gay reindeer?” and “What unsafe toys should I buy for my child?” Before Waters, 71, brings the show to The Birchmere on Dec. 21, we talked to him about crackheads, nudity, curses, electric chairs and other holiday traditions.
Have you ever visibly shocked your audience with your Christmas show?
I don’t have walkouts. Sometimes people are drunk and they pass out, but usually they are my fans and they know what to expect. I want to get together with [singer] Johnny Mathis and switch shows — I do my show for his audience, who would be horrified, and he would do his for mine, who would be just as horrified. It would be an experiment in Christmas anarchy.
Or you could show up at a “Nutcracker” and play the creepy uncle.
I did “The Nutcracker”! I did a version in Boston two years ago. They have a naked lunatic “Nutcracker” and it runs for two weeks and I was in it. I wasn’t naked, though.
Did you conceive of your show as a celebration of Christmas but also as a little bit of a takedown?
No, it’s not a takedown, but it is self-help for people that hate it. I talk about what you should give people, what you shouldn’t give people, what you should wear, how to deal with crazy relatives.
What advice do you have for people who are visiting conservative relatives for Christmas?
If you want to change someone’s politics, there is a Christmas curse I believe in. The way it works is, when a relative leaves the room, you run over and lick their chair. And then when they come in and sit back down, they might soften politically. You just can’t get caught doing it.
Do you have any tips for gift giving?
I believe you should never give gift cards to people — that means you think they are stupid and have no interests. I once got a Starbucks gift card and it was so humiliating.
What’s the best gift you’ve gotten?
Always books — rare, weird books. Someone gave me a novelization of a very obscure Herschell Gordon Lewis film called “Moonshine Mountain.” And [Lewis] came to my house once and saw the book and said, “I never even saw this book before, and it’s my movie!”
Where do you recommend people go shopping for presents?
Atomic Books. That’s the best place to go Christmas shopping if you’re in Baltimore, and it’s in Hampden, which is also a great neighborhood to shop in.
Tell me about your holiday decorations.
I have very insane Christmas decorations: I have a Unabomber birdhouse; I decorate the electric chair that Divine got fried in in “Female Trouble,” my movie; I have Christmas balls with ugly pictures of relatives.
Do you ever go caroling?
No, but I always wanted to. I never took crack, but I want to so I can go out with crackhead Christmas carolers and knock on doors and yell “Jingle Bells” really fast, just to see their faces.
Where do you stand on the “war on Christmas”?
I say, “Happy holidays,” but if someone says, “Merry Christmas” to me, I’ll say it back. I don’t say, “I’m taking you to court for saying that!” But maybe I’m going to do that this year. I’ll say, “How dare you assume that I believe in the virgin birth.”
As long as you’re rewriting your Christmas greeting, are there any parts of your Christmas show that you’re rewriting this year?
I always rewrite it in July, but with the current political climate, everything’s changing every day, so I have to keep rewriting it practically every day. We could have a new president by the time I come for Christmas. And that’d be the best present of all.
Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m., $55.