… the stump of a chick he held tight in his teeth …’

In a new version of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 Christmas poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Santa has no pipe in his teeth or encircling wreath of smoke. Canadian independent publisher Pamela McColl disapproves of smoking.

Sanitizing children’s literature is a bad idea, writes Anita N. Voelker, an associate professor of education, in an Ed Week commentary.

. . . one of my student-teachers read The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, to her 4th graders. As she shared the scene in which a father, cigarette in his clamped mouth, sells his daughter, she looked up to find 24 pairs of horrified eyes upon her. She paused, recognizing this was troubling. Wisely, she created time for conversation.

She assumed that the children were disturbed by the selling of a child. But, in whispered unison, the children warned their young student-teacher that the word “cigarette” is forbidden at their school. They insisted that she replace “cigarette” with “chicken.” Strikingly, a man with a chicken in his mouth made a strange substitution, but the children were surprisingly satisfied and seemingly unfazed that a child was being sold by her father … as long as he was not smoking!

Voelker asks: Why not teach children that people in the past didn’t realize the dangers of smoking?

Santa is a fake!

As an example of critical and deductive thinking, I present this 1988 video shot by my husband, John. (The mom is his first wife, Kate, who died in 2004.)  Gina is 10, Michael is 7 and Susie is 4 years old. Santa, who indeed is a fake, was hired from the Mountain View (CA) community services department.

Fat Santa

Santa Claus promotes obesity, complains Dr Nathan Grills, a professor at Monash University in Australia.  From The Telegraph:

(Grills) said the idea of a fat Father Christmas gorging on brandy and mince pies as he drove his sleigh around the world delivering presents was not the best way to promote a healthy and safe lifestyle among the young.

. . . Father Christmas could also potentially promote drunk-driving, argued Grills, referring to the tradition of leaving Santa Claus a brandy to wish him well on his travels.

At my husband’s family’s Christmas party, there was a move to draft the only new guest to play Santa for the little kids. But there weren’t enough pillows to make the costume fit 145-pound Seth, boyfriend of Susie the nutritionist. I wanted to tell the kids that Santa had acquired a personal nutritionist and taken off some weight, but this was vetoed.

Via The Corner’s Grinchwatch.