The Day After Christmas, or Santa's Workshop, Inc.

"Damn it!" Santa cried as he threw the calculator against the wall of his office.

His elven assistant sprang through the door. "What's wrong, Santa?" he asked.

"It's the books. They're not balancing. Every year, we go more and more into the red."

"But how is that possible?"

"The money for all this has to come from somewhere! How do people think I get a billion toys every year? You elves don't work for free, you know."

"We know. You've been quite generous, Santa."

"Yes. Full medical and dental coverage, no deductible. You get to choose your own elf doctor, none of this HMO nonsense. Company pension plan. Full benefits for lifestyle partners. We were the first company to do all of that. But that stuff costs money."

"We've streamlined our production. Thanks to automation, we turn out toys faster and better than ever before."

"But kids don't want rag dolls and rocking horses any more. It's these unconscionable cartoons and commercials selling their products to children. So kids want brand name merchandise. Last year it's Tickle Me Elmo and Nintendo 64, this year its Sing and Snore Ernie and Beanie Babies."

"Why can't we just make that stuff, Santa."

"Because they won't let me. If we built them in the workshop, they'd sue my red suit off. I can't get permission from the toy companies, so I have to get the product directly from them. And the companies are getting greedier and greedier. They see me as a captive market, so they charge me more each year. Each Christmas, I can afford less and less of these designer toys, and we get more whiny kids crying under the tree."

"Wow, that's rough."

"Tell me about it. Where do people think I get the money for all of this? From the Tooth Fairy? What must people think of me? Do they actually believe I go down chimneys? Chimneys! I couldn't fit down a chimney back when I was thin. And most houses don't even have chimneys."

"Good thing you've got lockpicks. But what about charitable donations? Don't they pick up this time of year?"

"What a myth! People are too busy spending their money on dead trees and the Nutcracker to donate to any organization. There's hundreds of charities out there fighting over a shrinking pie. And in America, donations to foreign charities aren't tax deductible."

"Doesn't the American government give you money?"

"Hardly enough to keep the reindeer in hooves. President Reagan slashed the US donation to almost nothing. And now that the Republicans control Congress, there's no hope of getting even a fraction restored."

"That's horrible. How can they do this?"

"They believe that private charities should do the work of the government, yet they do everything they can to undermine us. And their ridiculous trickle-down economics have ruined the economy so people can hardly keep their head above water, much less donate to charities."

"What about the Catholic church? After all, you are Saint Nicholas."

"Well, they don't like to talk about that too much. In fact, they tried to retroactively decanonize me, like they did to Saint Christopher. After all, everyone knows there is no Santa Claus. But after the Christopher debacle, they thought the public outcry would be too great, and backed off."

"Why would they try to decanonize you?"

"We don't get along too well. After they cut their donation, I threatened to put a condom in every stocking. It's that media hog Mother
that gets all the money and attention, even after she's dead. They think I'm too flashy, too secular."

"What about other religions?"

"The other Christians can be even worse. Some of those wacky Protestants think I'm a pagan symbol, a tool of the devil. The Jews are really tired of all this stuff about Jesus every December - and he wasn't even born in December! And do you think I'd really get any money from Muslims? Buddhists?"

"I see your point."

"The only way I can raise any money is by selling my image to endorse products. I know I'm contributing to the over commercialization of the holidays by hawking Coke, but if I don't sign, all the companies will pirate my image anyway. We've got hundreds of lawsuits in the United States alone suing fly-by-night companies selling cheap Santa merchandise."

"It seems like a vicious cycle, Santa. The only way to get your message of peace and sharing out is to use the commercial media, but the media itself subverts your message. What can you do?"

"The only thing we can do is the thing that we do best. Keep making toys and provide a good example and maybe one day people will figure out the true meaning of Christmas."

Hey all you google searchers out there: I wrote this a couple of years ago (you can tell from the dated references) and it’s been on my personal web page ever since, so that’s what will pop up. If you find this anywhere else, please let me know, because this is entirely my work.

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