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Even Santa feels economic pinch

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By Stephen Thomas

NORTH POLE - Bullitt County could become one of many areas targeted by a Christmas budget crunch this season.

Holiday host Santa Claus announced during a recent press conference that a slack economy could result in scaled-down gifts for good little boys and girls this season. Bullitt County was one of the included areas.

“We’ll still have a wonderful year, just not as much on the material side of it,” said Claus, adding that Americans would “make due in splendid character.”

Christmas spokeself Gustaf Q. Rinkydink said areas with a majority of kind-hearted citizens were selected for cutbacks.

“Good people don’t need so many material possessions to be happy... or so we hope,” Rinkydink said.

Claus admitted the American crisis was felt globally, the North Pole area included. As a result, even Claus has cut back Christmas production this season.

Rinkydink said no elves were laid off, though some were rescheduled to three days a week, while others took holiday incentive packages. The Keebler Company agreed to hire a number of North Pole factory workers.

“(Keebler) was happy to get the real deal,” said Rinkydink. “They were getting tired of all the Elves impersonators.”

Claus himself made changes to his famous reindeer team. Vixen and Blitzen were selected to sit out this season.

“With less toys on the sled we don’t need as much reindeer power,” said Claus. “We’ll make due with the smaller team.”

Vixen spokesdeer Doe Raymeé said the two traditional team members would keep busy traveling with Claus to school events and shopping malls.

Team superstar Rudolph will also miss this year’s trip, citing an autograph signing tour for his new best-selling autobiography, “They USED to laugh and call me names.”

Rudolph said in a statement that all proceeds from the book would go toward next year’s Christmas celebration.

Claus will also scale down his ride: A sled not used since 1936 has been brought out of the garage.

“I don’t need the fancy heaters and CD players and tracking devices of my current sleigh,” Claus admitted. “We’re going old school. We can’t expect the boys and girls to cut back if we don’t. Momma (Mrs. Claus) is packing me a cooler and hot cocoa thermos.”

Claus worked out this fall, hoping to use more chimneys and less doorways or windows this year.

“It’s a way to save a few pennies on heating bills,” he said.

Claus mentioned carrots and celery sticks left for reindeer this year would be taken back to the toyshops and made into soups for needier society members. Claus said milk and cookies would also be donated.

“Momma will give me all the cookies I need this year,” he said.

While Claus and his toyshops make due, the North Pole itself is under scrutiny for what many feel are unnecessary area additions.

At a recent council meeting North Pole mayor Abraham Merryjerry recently announced expansion plans for his personal entertainment project, “Santa Claus Lane Live.”

Merryjerry said a new inn, polar bowling alleys, penguin pool halls and a Thai restaurant named “The Star of the East” were among the improvements.

North Pole magistrates were not pleased with the plans however, most notably the potential addition of a topless snowwomen club.

“All that dancing and booze is not good. Too many sweaty snowmen will be slushing around all over our good streets,” argued magistrate Harvey Whoopsietinkle.

Merryjerry said the expansion guaranteed North Pole area financial status remaining “as stable as the Nativity.” He added that the local economy boost would in turn assist future Christmas celebrations.

“There’s no room at the inn and everywhere else for negative magistrates,” said Merryjerry. “I’m the shepherd of this new ‘Nativity scene’ and sheep like Whoopsietinkle simply need to follow.”

“What’s next, casinos floating on ice? Whale racing? Igloo meth labs?” Whoopsietinkle responded. “(Merryjerry) is not the shepherd, he’s the El Caganer of our ‘stable Nativity!’”

Whoopsietinkle was later removed from the meeting after throwing a shoe covered with jingle bells at Merryjerry.

“There arose such a clatter I sprang from my bench and saw what was the matter,” Merryjerry later said.

North Pole judge/executive Litton “Lit” O’Tanenbaum said a civil service committee would keep watch over the land, even by night. He said the panel would include wise men, possibly three, to make further decisions.

In an unrelated event, Bullitt County judge/executive Melanie Roberts was criticized for throwing socks at magistrates during a recent Fiscal Court meeting.

Roberts later claimed the socks were “simply Christmas gifts.” Magistrates disagreed, citing a reference to the Three Wise Men during the “gift distribution.”

A late statement released to The Pioneer News from the North Pole Caroler newspaper suggested a reminder to area residents about potential gift distribution changes this holiday season:

“Remember: It’s not the getting and the liking... it’s the giving and the loving. Merry Christmas to all!”