At the rate we are going, and with the rise of the sport of “Sue then for anything!}”, the following could be real, if not now, real soon!! – Ninure da Hippie
SOME SANTA HO-HO’S AND NO-NO’S
By Peter Chianca
To: Mall Santas
Welcome aboard in your new role as one of “Santa’s Helpers.” Please review the following guidelines carefully, so that the mall and its patrons can have a happy, healthy and non-litigious holiday season.
1.) As you’ve no doubt heard, “Ho Ho Ho” is no longer considered an acceptable
holiday greeting, having been deemed potentially offensive to women and
gardeners. The substitute “Ha Ha Ha” has also been banned, as it is possibly damaging
to a child’s self-esteem. Also, Santas overheard saying “Merry Christmas” will
be summarily removed from the premises. Instead, we recommend you listen
attentively to the children, nod, and affect a blank stare devoid of any emotion,
particularly fear. They can sense fear.
2.) Please keep in mind that not all children believe in Santa Claus or
celebrate Christmas. However, please make no attempt to determine this based on
physical cues, such as yarmulkes or “Proud Jehovah’s Witness” T-shirts, as this would
be considered profiling. If you have any questions, please consult the mall’s
attorney, who will be standing behind the fake snowman.
3.) Plump Santas are no longer considered “jolly.” Instead, they serve as a
bleak reminder of our nation’s struggle with obesity and are a poor role model to
our increasingly overweight and inactive children. Please make every effort to
appear slim and fit, and to encourage children to leave you celery and soy
products rather than cookies and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. Also, please note
that smoking is permitted in the break room only.
4.) Please do not promise children that Santa will bring them anything in
particular, as promising a gift that the parents cannot afford or do not approve of
could result in a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. Be pleasant but non-committal.
If the child is persistent, try to distract him with one of the celery sticks
we now give out in lieu of candy canes; if that doesn’t work, send him behind
the snowman to speak to the attorney.
5.) It has been deemed inappropriate, and a serious legal risk, to have
children sitting on a strange bearded man’s lap. This year the children will sit on a
stool, separated from you by a sheet of soundproof Plexiglas. This also serves
the purpose of keeping you from being able to hear their gift requests (see No.
6.) The concept of elves has been determined to be offensive to a host of
protected groups, including little people, pointy-eared people and people with high
squeaky voices. However, so as to give you the support you need, we are looking
at several possible replacements. Right now we’re leaning toward attorneys.
We’re sure that if you follow these simple guidelines you will succeed in
making the children’s visits with Santa as unremarkable and non-offensive as
possible. Welcome aboard the team here at the mall, and have a merry … a happy …
Peter Chianca is a columnist and managing editor for Gatehouse Media and the
brains behind “The At Large Blog” (chianca-at-large.blogspot.com). To receive At
Large by e-mail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line
Copyright 2007 Peter Chianca. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.
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