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Opinion

Economy’s recession may hinder Santa’s gift giving

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December 4, 2008

Each year, a generous, portly figure from up north voyages southward and, within the time constraints of Christmas Eve, delivers presents to all the deserving boys and girls of the world. This altruistic philanthropists name is Santa Claus, and he stands as a shining beacon of selflessness and generosity in a violent world ruled by greed and egotism. Indeed, Santa rewards kindness and excellent behavior with this annual act of charity.

But this year, Santa may find himself in a thorny position. The recent stock market crash — one of the biggest in the history of our nation — has undoubtedly put Santa’s massive manufacturing operation on the tightest budget in years. Unfortunately for St. Nick, Santa’s proficient force of diminutive subordinates-the elves-have slowly become aware of their indentured status and have recently begun demanding more than just candy canes and gingerbread cookies as payment for their perennial service.

You see, the economy doesn’t affect just human beings-elves, or whatever species they actually are-have families to support and gas to buy like the rest of us. Sugary holiday treats will no longer cut it and Santa had better realize it quick and introduce some kind of profit-sharing or pension plan to the North Pole before his pint-sized production crew walks out.

I suppose profit-sharing wouldn’t work-Santa doesn’t even make a profit besides a few crummy cookies, some lukewarm milk and the feelings of fulfillment that come to him naturally as the world’s jolliest humanitarian. Oh, if only we could all work for such a wage. But if we’ve learned anything in 2008, it’s that a drastic change might be necessary to solve these complex economic problems. I suggest to Santa that he may want to think about charging for presents this year.

I know it sounds a little harsh, but have you seen the numbers on kids’ allowances these days? While the rest of us working, stressed-out adults are scrounging and saving every penny, snot-stained, candy-smeared 12 year olds from across the country are seeing their earnings rise and rise continually. It’s similar to the gap between rich and poor-we seem to be getting poorer while our damn kids are finding themselves needing bigger piggy banks.

Santa, it’s all right to skim a little off these kids, isn’t it? Perhaps this year, St. Nick should send out a form letter to every child on earth, letting them know that some cold, hard cash is expected in return for that hot Fisher-Price digital camera or that Giddyup N’ Go Pony (now with snorting and galloping sound effects!). By the way, what happened to regular-ass Legos?

I say 20 bucks. Twenty bucks from every kid on earth should ease Santa’s budgetary pressures and should also provide a nice reward for those elves, who have been slaving away for our portly hero since the dawn of time. This will also teach our children that things are not free-sometimes to get something good, you’ve got to sacrifice a little, and far too few people know how to do that. Myself included.
Kids: start saving. And put an ice cube in the milk this year, Santa knows that crusty, tepid stuff isn’t nearly refreshing enough to wash down your mother’s terrible cookies. Merry Christmas!

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.