Eric D. Snider

A Message from Claus Inc.

Snide Remarks #602

"A Message from Claus Inc."

by Eric D. Snider

Published on December 8, 2008

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Ho ho ho! Santa Claus here, just checking in from headquarters at the North Pole to let you know about some changes we're making. This recession has hit us all a little hard, and like everyone else, we've had to adjust. But don't worry! I'll still be bringing presents to all the good little boys and girls on Christmas Eve, just as I've done every year since Clement Clarke Moore created me in 1823! I'm still a right jolly old elf! We're just making some minor changes.

First of all, I will now be 25% less jolly. Being jolly requires energy, which requires calories, which requires food, which, frankly, we're a little short on lately.

On a somewhat related note, I regret to announce that Blitzen is no longer with the team.

Now, my accountants tell me that part of the reason Claus Inc. is hurting right now is that as it turns out, I have no discernible source of income. Man alive, I don't know how I overlooked that. Seems obvious, doesn't it? Sure, in hindsight. But when we first set up shop here at the North Pole, we were able to get by on nothing more than children's wishes, Christmastime magic, visions of sugarplums, and food stamps. That system won't cut it anymore, though, so we have to adjust a few things.

Effectively immediately, I will no longer be delivering presents to non-Christian children. A lot of atheists, agnostics, and non-observant Jews have been suckin' on old Santa's teat for a long time, and I've let it slide. But I can't afford it anymore. From now on, if you don't actually believe in some significant portion of the original Christmas story, I'm not coming to your house. I'm not saying you need to go to church every Sunday. I'm just saying no more of this generic "celebrate the spirit of giving" crap.

And don't even get me started on "Chrismukkah." Pick a side, folks! Ho ho ho!

Traditionally, I've punished naughty children by leaving lumps of coal in their stockings -- which is pretty ridiculous, considering what it costs to heat my cottage these days. I might as well be leaving them lumps of gold! Starting this year, naughty children don't get squat, not even joke gifts, not even socks. And we're broadening the definition of "naughty," too. Let's be honest, a lot of you little bastards have been slipping through the cracks. You'll be monsters all year long, then suddenly act sweet starting around Thanksgiving, and so I'll cave in and bring you something. Uh-uh. That's not gonna cut it anymore. No more of this deathbed repentance.

I'm talking to you, Jayden Rasmussen, age 6, in Sacramento! You may have temporarily suspended your reign of terror as the neighborhood's most foul-mouthed brat, but I'm not falling for it. You might as well give up the charade and go back to being a bully, because Santa is not coming to your house this year. Start behaving now, and see if you can last until next Christmas, and then we'll talk.

And you, Molly McIntyre, age 8, of Tampa? Becoming a mean girl already? A little young, aren't you? I've seen the way you talk behind the other girls' backs in school. I don't care how many good deeds you pretend to do for your mother this month -- I know you're only doing it to get on my good side. And I don't have a good side anymore. I can't afford it.

We've streamlined things back at the workshop, too. Had to let a few elves go. It was awfully sad. You know how my belly shakes when I laugh, like a bowlful of jelly? Well, it shakes like that when I cry, too. A lot of those elves had been with us since the company was founded, but we had no choice. Had to lay them off. It's made things a little awkward, since we had to evict them from employee housing, too, and they don't have anyplace else to go. It's not like you can just take a bus from the North Pole down to Toronto and get a job at Starbucks. So there are all these homeless, unemployed elves hanging around Santa's Village, living on the picturesque cobblestone streets, begging for spare change, spending everything they get on eggnog, getting into brawls, abusing the reindeer. It's very sad.

I'm also scaling back on the types of presents I can deliver. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make an Xbox? In the old days, we'd make toy trains and dolls and Lincoln logs, and the kids were happy with that. But now I gotta bring in consultants every year to re-train the elves on how to build these crazy new toys with microchips and megabytes and whatnot, and it costs me an arm and a leg. No more of that. From now on, if my elves can't build it with cobbler's tools, you can't have it for Christmas. So take your wish list and cross off anything that starts with a lowercase "i."

Finally, I know this won't go over well, and I'm hesitant to even bring it up, but I feel I don't have any other choice. You know how you tend to leave out milk and cookies for old Saint Nick to munch on when he comes to visit? Well, would it kill you to leave out a few dollars instead? It's not that I don't appreciate the cookies, because surely I do! It's a lovely gesture. But at every single house? I may be chubby, and I may laugh a lot, but I'm not a stoner. I don't need to eat 10 million cookies in one night. And what I DO need is to pay for the elves' healthcare plan.

Look, everyone in the industry is making cutbacks. The Easter Bunny is laying all the eggs himself this year -- and believe me, that's not gonna be pretty. Jack Frost was already downsized due to global warming. And the Tooth Fairy has had to reduce her payout amount by 30%. A lot of kids have started hanging on to their teeth as an investment, hoping to cash them in when prices go back up. That's smart. It's good that children are thinking about the future. I wish I had! Ho ho ho!

Stumble It!


Though it did cross my mind for Santa to ask Congress for a bailout, I quickly rejected it as obvious and unfunny. Jokes along those lines became overused several weeks ago. I knew they'd really been beaten to death when I started seeing them in the newspaper comic strips -- kids with lemonade stands saying they need a bailout, etc. When the comic strips get around to making jokes about a current event, you know it must really be played out.

The Santa voice I did for the SnideCast kinda tore me up, by the way. It's heavy on the diaphragm and harsh on the throat. I don't how the real Santa manages.

This item has 23 comments

  1. Tyler! says:

    I always thought Santa pulled in a few extra bucks from his Coca-Cola endorsement deal. Which, if that's true, I'd be sort of impressed to learn that my Coke addiction has helped to fund his elves' healthcare plan. Or at least it's WAY more interesting than anything Congress is coming up with, anyways. And scarier.

    I was kind of hoping Frasier would be doing the impression of Santa for the SnideCast, but oh well.

  2. erinannie says:

    Love it.

  3. Aussie Ron says:

    I was drinking when I read:

    "On a somewhat related note, I regret to announce that Blitzen is no longer with the team."

    Fortunately for me, laptops are on sale at this time of the year.

    Thanks Eric for a great laugh and a reason to upgrade my old laptop.

    PS For the slow ones, the Mountain Dew was no longer in my mouth.....nor down my throat. Enough said.

  4. Tom says:

    If I had a nickel for everytime I heard "suckin' on old Santa's teat". . .

  5. Kaydria says:

    "I may be chubby, and I may laugh a lot, but I'm not a stoner." This is maybe my new favorite line.

  6. Phil Cardenas says:

    "No more of this deathbed repentance". I think I saw that the other day on the local corner with a manic street preacher.

    Very funny article, Eric. Just thinking of the Easter bunny laying his own "eggs" this year made the 12-year-old in me giggle.

  7. sean says:

    Santa Claus on food stamps == funny.

  8. pizzatheface says:

    Maybe Santa is also Mrs. Powell. If you can't eat all those cookies in one night, might as well collect, repackage and sell them under a pseudonym.

  9. Turkey says:

    I love that Santa finally got around to calling them "little bastards." Tru dat.

  10. AdamOndi says:

    There have been a bunch of eBay commercials on the radio lately that are essentially the same idea as this. Santa is talking about how times are tough and he is having to make some changes as a result. The big difference: Those are ridiculously stupid and unfunny. They just end up being horribly depressing.

    Conversely, Eric's column on a similar theme is smart and funny. I loved the insinuation of using Blitzen for food.

  11. Liz says:

    Santa doesn't want a bailout anyway.

    He'd end up with a grounded sleigh, a million lawsuits over his "naughty" list, and neutered reindeer.

  12. Dale D says:


    Eric, how could any of this possibly be true? I not only don't understand, but I'm a bit offended that you could offer such drivel to us, your faithful readers, in such a back-handed, tongue-in-cheek, cow-towing to the masses sort of way. It's uncanny! You are usually so sharp-witted and savvy, it's hard to think of you as stooping to such low-life tricks as displayed in this article. (I'm trying to use all the hyphenated words I can....)

    I mean, really, Eric! How could you?! I mean, anyone who has watched any single one of the 27 different versions or remakes of "Miracle on 34th Street" KNOWS that Santa Claus actually has a really cushy job at Macy's! ........

    Dale D

  13. Nick says:

    I was one of the naughty little bastards who fell through the cracks; I had three brothers on which to blame my malfeasance.

    Superb column, Eric. It shall be spread 'round the internet post haste (with proper credit and linkage, of course).

  14. ErinC says:

    Why Blitzen? Why not Cupid? He has the dumbest name anyway so why not eat him?

  15. DaleD says:

    ErinC says:

    December 8, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Why Blitzen? Why not Cupid? He has the dumbest name anyway so why not eat him?

    ErinC, I guess you didn't realize that Eric was actually trying to display some semblance of being politically correct....


  16. Prestige Worldwide says:

    Yah, TAMPA!! Great city to reference, Eric!

  17. Carrie says:

    HAHAHAHA! Poor Blitzen! My sides.

  18. CoolBoy says:

    Woah! I totally didn't get the Blitzen joke at first. I just thought it was a sort of random public service-type announcement. It's a good thing they didn't eat Rudolph, or they'd have lost those endorsements as well.

  19. Ampersand says:

    You do a very convincing Santa voice. Now you just need to dye your beard white and you've got a very promising second career moonlighting as a shopping mall Santa Claus.

  20. knightmare says:

    Of course, it's thought now that Moore didn't write Twas the Night, that he took credit for another person --Livingston's-- work and passed it off as his own.

    Funny, and sad, because it rings true. My favorite radio station, KUPL, dropped two of their best djs in the morning due to budget cutbacks.

  21. Melissa says:

    I was not able to listen to the podcast since I am sitting in class watching my students take finals but I have to say as I was reading this I just had the deep rumble voice of santa in my head. I did like the little bastards comment I had to cover my snort with a cough. Love the column!

  22. Janae says:

    Well done. Well done.

  23. hecowe says:

    Leave it to Eric to make "reindeer steak" a new menu option at the holiday table. What kind of sides go with that?

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