Santa Claus Steps Down as CEO of the North Pole Corporation
On December 26, 2011, legendary business tycoon Santa Claus stood in Times Square before more than twenty thousand Americans and made an announcement that shocked the world:
“Effective on February 29, 2012, I will be resigning my position as CEO of the North Pole. My age is beginning to get the better of me, and I am no longer able to deal with the stress of the numerous responsibilities and intense media scrutiny. It has been a good long run, and I thank those of you who supported me and helped make this possible. I now am looking forward to enjoying my remaining years in quiet retirement with my wife.”
Reactions to the news of Claus’s retirement have been mixed but very passionate on both sides of the discussion. The history of the man and the famous North Pole Corporation is a long and mysterious one. His unwillingness to speak to the media has resulted in very little knowledge about the early years of his life, but experts and scholars who have studied him tend to agree that he was born in Greece almost two thousand years ago. It is commonly believed that he then traveled to Germany, which is where he learned the art of crafting toys from wood. He studied the trade there for a few centuries before traveling to the Netherlands, where he took a job building toys at a small shop to support himself.
Finally, in the late eighteenth century Claus took the money he had saved and immigrated to the United States. Upon his arrival, he used his savings as capital to establish his own toy manufacturing company. Starting with only three elves, the company rapidly grew and began to offer delivery services as well. Claus’s reputation as a jolly, good-natured man is largely due to his early years personally delivering toys in a reindeer drawn sled (although he rarely makes the deliveries himself anymore). From these modest beginnings, Claus’s corporation has expanded dramatically, and today it employs over 250,000 workers and manufactures over twenty million toys a year in more than two hundred countries.
Yet despite his impressive success, Claus is probably best known for redefining Christmas into what we know it as today. The holiday was originally intended to be a celebration of the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ, but as time went on people began to treat the day as a serious occasion of reverence and church-going. Claus had always felt that this message was a depressing one, particularly for young children. So on the night before Christmas in 1809, he loaded up a large red sleigh and delivered free toys to the children of every house on Earth. The joy he created was so great that Christmas became a day of celebration once again. So Claus vowed to repeat this act of charity every Christmas, and has held true to his word, causing him to be beloved by children all over the world.
However, Claus’s generosity and joviality have not endeared him to everyone. Many prominent Christian groups have criticized him
for “destroying the sanctity of Christmas” by removing Jesus from the equation. Anti-consumers have attacked him for the “commercialization of the holiday season.” Claus has also faced a stream of legal troubles over the years. In 1934 the United States Department of Labor conducted an in-depth investigation of the North Pole Corporation based on allegations that the elves were being subjected to excessively long hours and cruel and harsh working conditions (a settlement was eventually reached, although the terms remain a mystery). In 1985 PETA sued Claus, claiming that his “use of reindeer as slaves for transportation, even after the invention of modern methods such as the car, was inhumane and disgusting.” Yet somehow Claus dodged this bullet as well. The reindeer were brought up again in 1993 when the Federal Aviation Administration convicted Claus of numerous air traffic violations over the years, resulting in over $2.5 million in fines. And while there has never been any significant evidence to prove it, there has been much speculation that Claus has been using Christmas as a way to augment his wealth through involvement in immoral and illegal activities such as panhandling outside Walgreens and fraudulent online shopping websites that take advantage of the dynamic of the holiday season to fleece the general public.
Whether you love Santa Claus or hate him, it is impossible to ignore the impact that his departure will have. Will his successor continue the Christmas traditions that he has become so well known for? Claus announced that he will most likely look for an outside hire to fill his shoes, and he was quoted as saying that the most important things for any candidates to have are “a rotund belly, a jolly demeanor, and a fondness for red suits.” Rumor has it that Kevin James, Drew Carey, and Zach Galifianikis are all being considered for the job. The official announcement will be made on February 28, Claus’s final day.
– Marius Berner
Photos by Dan Cronin^
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