Santa Claus Is Not Coming To Town
(He's Surfin' the Net)
by Patrick Holland

I've just received some shocking news, via e-mail sent from the North Pole. While I'm not at liberty to identify my source, I can say his email address is that of "blitzen@npole.com." I fear the worst.

The situation being as it is, I feel it's my duty as a journalist to pass along to the children of this country whatever information has been sent to me. As a human being, though, I wish I could just close my eyes and make it all go away. Kinda' like how most folks feel towards the '96 Presidential candidates.

The message reads as follows:

Urgent! I send this in hopes someone can help! Christmas is in jeopardy!! Santa Claus has become a recluse up here, and rumor around camp has it he's going to sit this year out. For the past two months, thousands of children have foregone their traditional requests for bikes, dolls, little puppies and Scooter Pies and instead have asked for computer modems that will allow them to "Surf the Net." Santa, confused by such a huge demand for phone utensils, took it upon himself two weeks ago to check out the Internet and see what the fuss was all about. He hasn't left his room since.

It gets worse.

Production in the toy factory has come to a halt. On December 4th, The North Pole Elves Union walked out on strike. Officials here thought they were bluffing, but now the streets are full of striking elves. Santa's only response to the Union's action was to hire inferior Replacement Elves, including the Lucky Charms Leprechaun (who technically is not an elf at all), and that annoying Little Sprout who for years was the Jolly Green Giant's sidekick. Both were signed to one year contracts. (Santa's also said to be in negotiations, via an Internet chatline, with two former members of the 1986 Keebler Elves' unit who were kicked out of their tree for illegal use of a controlled substance known only as "pseudo-buttery topping.")

While these Replacement Elves have infuriated the North Pole Elves Union, the situation nearly came to blows after yesterday's incident. With Santa locked in his room downloading pictures of Pamela Anderson, Lucky the Leprechaun convinced the other Replacement Elves to stop work on Barbie and Ken dolls and instead begin producing 4,000,000 action figures resembling the cast of Showgirls. (Thankfully, a truce between the Union and the Replacement Elves' was finally arrived at hours later -- with help of negotiator Jimmy Carter -- just as production was about to begin on Ishtar sock puppets.)

Worse yet, there's chaos in the reindeer stable. To start with, Rudolph was picked up by border patrol last night carrying two kilograms of "snow." (Explains that red nose, now, doesn't it?)

Then, Donner and Dasher assembled the North Pole's Board of Directors this morning to complain about Santa's recent return flight from the annual Dr. Seuss memorial service somewhere in the States. Both reindeer claim they were unrespectfully assigned to fly towards the back of the sled. To add insult to injury, they say Santa didn't speak to them the entire flight. Donner had planned to discuss with Saint Nick a sure-fire way to balance Santa's budget deficit that's grown steadily since the Cabbage Patch Kids and Hello Kitty! went out of fashion in the late 1980s.

The North Pole Post, our local tabloid, caught wind of the story when Santa released photos to the paper of both Donner and Dasher clearly engaging in heated discussion with him during the flight. Dasher explained how he and Donner were merely arguing the significance of Lady Diana's recent BBC interview. No one bought the story. (Dasher's. Also, Lady Diana's.)

With rumors circulating that tomorrow morning's front cover of the Post will show Donner and Dasher along with the headline, "On Donner, On Dasher, On Everyone's Nerves," the Board of Directors quickly voted to ban any copies of the paper from Santa's workshop. This accomplished, they've taken the rest of the week off and given themselves a pay raise. The issue of the striking Elves has been ignored.

What's truly sad is that throughout all of this, many of the Elves' children have been neglected by their parents. Not due to the strike, mind you, but because the elders have been watching a special Beatles Anthology television special in which an unfinished John Lennon Christmas song has apparently been found that the singer had planned on releasing before his untimely death. The surviving Beatles collaborated on the tune, changing its original title, "Oh Little Town of Liverpool," to "'Twas the Night Before We Used John's Voice Ordering Pizza Over The Phone To Make Millions."

So bad has the Elves' Neglect been towards their children, many of the younger kids have not been fed in days. And these kids are hungry, let me tell you. This morning Vixen woke up to find the name tag on her stall door replaced with a sign reading, "Venison." Things are getting nasty up here.

Yet I'm afraid that's still not the end of it. Yesterday found nearly two dozen Coca Cola polar bears wandering around Santa's village begging for a caffeine fix. The Coca COla Company has apparently put them out of work, citing polar bears have been replaced by frogs and ants that pitch beer as hot marketing trends. Besides, with advances in computer animation shown in Toy Story, Polar Bears who grin and chug highly carbonated beverages just aren't on the cutting edge of technology any more.

The only person that could possibly save the situation up here is Mrs. Claus. But after a stellar 1994 in public opinion poles, Santa and his Happy Advisors have reduced her duties to reading mail. They've also changed her hairstyle to reflect a more soft-spoken, traditional wife. And when she tried to release a statement concerning her views on the O.J. Simpson verdict, Santa's press secretary intercepted the statement, altering its content to read, "Mrs. Claus expressed surprise during the O.J. trial when, just as the jury was about to read its verdict, her gingerbread cookies burst into flames while cooking in the oven."

With all these distractions and obstacles, there appears to be very little hope for Christmas as we've come to know it. I now ask you to do whatever you can to prepare the children of your country for a Santa-less Christmas. Years ago when the jolly fat guy would get in a funk around the holidays, we'd just get him to enjoy a nice glass of egg nog and watch Johnny Carson. Today, with egg nog considered a killer of overweight, older men in today's fat-infatuated society, and late night television about as entertaining as, well, Saturday Night Live, there just doesn't seem to be an answer.

You know, at this late stage of the game, you'd think everyone would pull together and get things done. They always have before. But attitudes seem to have changed. Christmas isn't what it used to be. People aren't who they used to be. Alas, tonight find Prancer, Comet and the guys from accounting over in Sweden getting drunk. Prancer's already been pulled over twice for DWI -- if he does it again he'll be permanently grounded. Which is unfortunate, because he's a role model whether he wants to be or not. Just like the other reindeer, the elves, and Santa himself. I've sent e-mail to Santa reminding him of this, but his only response has been, "Did you know slugs can mate with themselves? Says so right here on the World Wide Web." This year, that's as far as the big guy's going to get to traveling World Wide.

Where's Colin Powell when you need him?

Patrick Holland still believes in Santa Claus, but isn't so sure about the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Social Security.



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