Doesn’t it seem like kids these days are growing up way too fast? Youngsters today put iPhones before GI Joes and Barbies on their gift wish lists and can school their parents on the latest food crazes. They’re so inundated with pop culture and societal trends that their capacity for whimsy and fantasy might be headed down the drain, too.
It’s only a matter of time before small children start questioning the stories we feed them to make life more magical, like the Easter Bunny’s penchant for hiding eggs or, even worse, Santa Claus’s Christmas Eve house calls. Do we have to make Santa over to comply with the demands of the world-savvy, politically correct next generation? And if so, how?
Put him on a diet.
With child obesity rates soaring, today’s Santa shouldn’t be sending the message that a belly shaking like a bowlful of jelly is okay. That means no more late-night snacks of cookies and milk—PC Santa keeps his BMI in the healthy range with Greek yogurt and fruit instead.
Bring elf sweatshops to an end.
No longer should these little people be subjected to unfair work conditions and forced to work day and night under Boss Kringle’s judgmental stare. Starting this season, elves will work eight-hour days with allotted one-hour lunches and two fifteen-minute breaks. They’ll have health care benefits—constant toymaking often leads to carpal tunnel syndrome—and the ability to unionize. Vacation and sick days can be taken any time of year, not just directly after the holidays. And with the help of a newly appointed human resources director to promote diversity, Santa’s workshop will extend jobs to tall people as well.
Comply with PETA demands.
PETA’s been on Santa’s derriere for years because of his fur-lined coats, leather boots, and use of reindeer to cart him around the world. Rather than waiting for him to get splattered in red paint or for rabid animal-rights activists wearing deer suits to invade the North Pole, we need to make sure Santa trades in all that fur and leather for faux fur and pleather. As for the reindeer, Santa can’t bring presents to boys and girls worldwide without them. But he can give Rudolph and the rest of the herd breaks throughout the night and feed them organic apples and grass.
Give Mrs. Claus equal partnership.
Does Santa’s wife even have a first name? In 2009, that must come to an end. Kris Kringle gets all the glory every Christmas, but what about the rest of the year? Are kids to believe he runs the workshop all by his lonesome? Behind every great Santa is a great woman, and it’s time she got a voice. The new Mrs. Claus will own 50 percent of the North Pole’s business and lay claim to at least half of Santa’s assets should they ever part ways. Oh, and she’ll get a first name, too.
Develop new guidelines for gift giving.
“He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake.” The Patriot Act didn’t even go that far! Claus’s surveillance extends way beyond what privacy laws allow—plus, it’s just creepy. I’m not sure how he’ll determine who’s been naughty or nice, but it won’t involve his watching us at all hours anymore. And in terms of wish lists, Santa will encourage emails instead of letters from now on to minimize paper waste.
Also, Santa’s been thumbing his nose at trespassing laws for years. Well-intentioned or not, you can’t just enter people’s houses unannounced. Even most landlords have to give twenty-four-hour notice before coming to their tenants’ doors. From now on, he’s got to get written consent before he sets foot in any one of the billion homes he plans to visit this Christmas Eve. And the house hit list must begin to extend beyond homes that celebrate Christmas only—Santa is an equal-opportunity gift giver, regardless of religion.
Kick St. Nick’s smoking habit.
Every so often, a picture emerges of Santa holding a pipe. Do we really need more celebrities pretending drug paraphernalia is cool? From now on, Santa’s right-hand companion will be a stainless-steel Sigg bottle (the kind that doesn’t leach BPAs, of course) filled with filtered tap water, or a bottle of kombucha.
Arrest all mall impersonators.
People in the real world are thrown in jail for committing fraud—why should mall Santas be any different? Okay, this might be going too far …
If ever there were a way to kill holiday joy, giving Santa Claus a politically correct makeover is surely it. Maybe, instead of letting overly smart kids dictate the new holiday rules with their constant “But why?” questions, we should give them the classic adult response passed down from generation to generation: “Why? Because I said so, that’s why.” If children want to see presents under the Christmas tree, they’ll learn to live with our beloved version of Santa—old-fashioned, overweight, and inherently criminal. In other words, as un-PC as it gets.