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Santa Claus says big changes are coming for Yuletide Inc

It’s beginning to feel a lot like something that isn’t quite Christmas any more – but maybe it’s for the better.

Just ask Yuletide Inc chief executive Santa Claus, who is instigating a major disruption of the operation of his own long-standing North Pole-based “fulfilment centre”, as Amazon would call it, after closely studying the latest alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Our operation is still extremely successful as a customer-facing enterprise, but it’s time to admit it’s just not sustainable,” says Claus. “It’s important we now get buy-in from our global client base of young people to reboot our business model and future-proof it to be fit for purpose. We can’t keep kicking this can down the road.”

Claus’ communications elf, Blitzen, stressed to media that Santa meant to say “recycled can”. Yuletide Inc is moving into recycling in a major way.

There are unconfirmed reports Claus has also faced early pushback from the World Bank and the OECD, given Yuletide Inc’s long-entrenched monopoly on Christmas. They warned that, like Facebook, Google, Amazon and other anti-competitive market behemoths, Yuletide could face multilateral curbs if its actions impinged on countries’ sovereignty. Tariffs, tax treaties, anti-dumping action, even embargoes were on the table.

Claus’ response: “Calm the farm!”

As Blitzen put it, “Christmas will still be Christmas. We just want it to be greener.”

Claus denies alarmist reports that all plastic toys will be replaced by plant-based ones. “Our new mission statement is simply to partner with our client base to de-transactionalise Christmas and progressively prioritise multiple-usage inventory …”

Blitzen: “We reckon people should buy less and buy smarter. We will also be discouraging people from gifting items such as phones and gadgets that can’t be mended or upgraded with new parts. It’s very wasteful. And it makes the grown-ups cry.”

The North Pole factory will be reconfigured to process homemade and recycled gifts. Says Blitzen: “Regifting used to be viewed as cheapskate, but not any more. It’s great that it’s green to be mean!”

Claus says recycling will be “helmed” by a “tiger team” of biochemists and engineers who will “synchronise with other knowledge hubs to progress green solutions going forward”.

“No trips to the landfill,” clarified an elf.

Other reforms have been challenging, not least the scrapping of the Naughty or Nice register. “‘Naughty’ has triggering connotations and ‘nice’ is an objectifying construct,” the spokes-elf said. Also banished is any use of the term “conduct unbecoming”.

Yuletide Inc has, in addition, weathered a ticklish human resources dispute, sparked when some elves fell out over which ablutions facilities the reindeer Vixen, who self-identifies as a female fox, should be allowed to use. There was a discussion over whether “Vixen” should change to a non-binary name. One suggestion was “Okay Boomer”, which was favoured because it goes with Dunder, if not Dasher, Dancer and Prancer. The reindeer known as Cupid may also have to change its moniker, the name not being seen as woke enough. Comet is fine. Rudolph, only a 20th-century inclusion as a reindeer name, cannot now be changed because it would send radio stations around the globe into receivership.

A further setback was the miscalculation of the 2019 festive adornment “roll-out”, as the Bling Division erroneously included New Zealand’s billion new, mostly fir, trees as needing Christmas decoration. “That sent our emissions profile sky-high.”

In other news, Claus is understood to be “self-partnered” in his new green ventures after unconsciously uncoupling from his wife following an unfortunate incident last Christmas. Stopped for a breath test at midnight, he was lucky to be able to go on his way. A senior elf anonymously appealed, “If people would stop leaving sherry and whisky out for the big guy, she might come back. Carrots improve vision. Alcohol doubles it.”

Santa is endeavouring to be on his best behaviour, even amending his traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” after listening, via his sleigh laptop (biofuelled by reindeer droppings), to a podcast on the negative connotations of such rap-music terms.

We can exclusively reveal that his new catch cry, underlining the major changes in the way Santa brings joy to the world, has been sustainably recycled into … “Oh! Oh! Oh!”

This article was first published in the December 21, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.