It is probably the most beloved and well-known Christmas tale ever told.
Well, for a non-biblical story anyway.
It is the story of a secretive old man who breaks into people's houses one night of each year to leave items that are made in China, er, I mean his workshop in the North Pole.
I am talking about the time-honoured poem T'was the Night Before Christmas.
The grand tale of jolly old St. Nick as he works his yuletide magic around the globe has been shared for generations.
The poem was written in the 1800s by Clement C. Moore who also wrote a whole bunch of other stuff as well, but I doubt many households read those stories aloud once a year.
I recently re-read the poem and it got me wondering what it would be like if it were written today.
There are so many politically incorrect aspects to it, someone somewhere would have objected to it, because in this day and age pretty much everything will offend someone.
'Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot...' – whoa, hang on, wait a minute.
You mean Santa Claus massacres defenseless animals for clothing!
PETA would be marching to the North Pole in protest and dogging him at every stop along his Dec. 25 route if he tried to get away with such barbarism in modern times.
'The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...' sounds like a potential fire hazard. Let's just put those stockings in the middle of the room away from the open flame.
'The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.'
What! Santa smokes! How can a role model for millions of children around the world indulge in such an unhealthy habit?
I read recently where a group wants to have that part of the poem removed altogether because they say it will encourage kids to smoke.
I know lots of people who believed in Santa as a kid and none of them started smoking because Santa had a nic fit in every house he visited. They started smoking because they were idiots and the big man had nothing to do with it.
‘He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf; And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.’
So let me get this straight, people are laughing at someone because of their body type; because they are overweight.
Perhaps he has a thyroid condition, or some other medical ailment that causes him to gain weight. Perhaps he is very sensitive about it, maybe it is something beyond his control.
Perhaps that should be changed to 'He was a weight-enhanced gentleman, who, in spite of his challenges, maintained a good mental attitude.'
'A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.'
That line might read a little different in a modern United States: A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread because I had a bead on him with my 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and if he so much as wiggled his nose he would have more lead in him than a toy from China.'
Not a warm and fuzzy Christmas tale, but probably accurate.
So, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and thankfully his story was told long before it was subjected to the political correctness of modern times.
Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh