That Bearded Fellow: A Christmas Parable

I’ve heard a lot of quacking this week about a certain bearded man who said some things that put him in the soup, as it were. Of course, you know of whom I speak. None other than the Patron Saint of Materialism, Mr. Santa Q. Claus. It seems Mr. Claus, also known by the aliases St. Nick and Father Christmas, made a few choice remarks about elves.

Now, if you know your history, you know that Mr. Claus and the elves who work for him have a very special relationship. Mr. Claus relies on them for producing the goods and the elves rely on Mr. Claus to provide secure jobs and good working conditions. So, when Mr. Claus made his unfortunate remarks, the elves were understandably upset.

Mr. Claus’s supporters rushed to his aide touting the Free Speech argument. Mr. Claus was, after all, only exercising his right to say whatever he darn well feels like saying. Meanwhile the Elf Defamation League issued a stern reprimand and PETE (People for the Ethical Treatment of Elves) began a worldwide smear campaign. To make matters worse, the powerful Elf Union immediately voted to strike. The Reindeer Union also walked off the job in support of the elves. Production at the North Pole ground to a halt. It seemed Christmas might have to be cancelled.

In stepped Mrs. Claus, who as we all know is the real brains behind the North Pole Conglomerate. She did what no one ever wants to be forced to do. She sent Santa to his room to think over his actions. She then turned her efforts to damage control. With the entire North Pole shut down by the walkout, and elves and reindeer picketing outside the factory, and the news media sticking microphones in everyone’s faces, she had her work cut out for her.

Her first challenge was to restore Santa’s credibility as a loveable icon in the eyes of the children of the world. Fortunately, over the years the Elf Marketing Department had built perhaps the most extensive customer contact list in the world. Mrs. Claus set about sending out an email blast to all the children of the world letting them know that Santa had a headache and it made him cranky and he said something he didn’t really mean and he was sorry and not to worry, little tykes, Christmas was in no danger of being cancelled as had been reported on all the news-ertainment shows.

With a combination of sweet talking and sugar cookies, Mrs. Claus skillfully managed to get the elves to go back to work and the reindeer back to the barn, promising them an opportunity to fully voice their own views after the busy season was over, and reminding them of the all the sad little faces of the children who would not get their Bill-Buster Duck Rifles on Christmas morning. After hanging Santa in effigy, they headed back to their desks and workbenches, slightly mollified.

Then, Mrs. Claus headed back to the plush condo she shared with Mr. Claus. She called him from his room and sat him down in the living room. “Now, Santa,” she said, “What do you have to say for yourself?” And Santa replied, “Well, Mother, I know I CAN say whatever I want to say, but maybe sometimes it’s wiser to put my boot in my mouth instead.” And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, “I’ve got nothing to say, because that, too, is my right.”