Thursday, November 1, 2012

Santa's Quit...

Santa Claus by George Eastman House
Santa Claus, by George Eastman House
Old Saint Nick By Harper's Weekly
Old Saint Nick By Harper's Weekly
...smoking, that is. A new edition of Clement C. Moore's classic Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas,"(much better known by its first line, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas") has snatched away Santa's pipe. Canadian publisher, Grafton and Scratch, has excised these lines from the poem: "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath." The publisher is an anti-smoking campaigner and has decided that in this era of extreme health awareness, smoking should not be depicted in children's books. While discouraging anyone from smoking is a commendable exercise, reworking a classic poem seems just a bit extreme simply to suit current mores. After all, it's not like Santa's a chain-smoking fiend - it's just a fragrant pipe - can't an old man have a smoke? Let's hope Santa can keep drinking his java - he'll need it even more to stay awake on Christmas Eve. Without his pipe, he might even pack on more weight, raising the possibility of his getting stuck in someone's chimney. Poor guy, let him have his pipe! Fortunately, we can still read the unedited version of, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" on the web.

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