“I never thought it would come to this back in the 4th century when I started with secretly passing out gold coins,” said an obviously upset St. Nick when, just a few days away from his famous ride, he sat down and talked with Hoosier Ag Today. “Each year it gets harder and harder to get the gifts on people’s lists.” He said the technology gets to be a bigger and bigger challenge each year, but the latest issue that put the big man in a funk are the dietary guidelines being pushed by the government.
“Hey look — Christmas is about celebrating, having fun, making people happy, giving them things they really want. How am I supposed to do that with vegetables, whole grain, and no meat, sugar, salt, or fat?” The healthy food mandates being promoted by the First Lady and by public health and consumer groups are aimed at curbing childhood obesity. St. Nick, who has had his own struggles with obesity, says he is not against efforts to get young people to eat healthier food, “Look, Christmas comes once a year so let’s relax the rules a bit. I mean, come on, are some Christmas cookies and candy going to hurt that much once a year?” He added that, in all his year of bringing gifts at Christmas, never has he seen Brussels sprouts on a Christmas list.
When I reminded Nick that the guidelines being promulgated by the Obama White House and USDA were only for schools participating in the school lunch program, he leaned forward and, in a hushed voice, revealed a shocking fact, “They called me and asked that I adhere to the guidelines this Christmas.” Twisting his beard in nervous animosity he added, “They implied that if I did not comply that NORAD would give me trouble.”
The jolly old elf, who was not in such a jolly mood, also complained about some of the current foodie trends sweeping American culture, “Gluten free, GMO free — the stuff being left out for Santa on Christmas eve is getting really weird. Do you have any idea what tofu fruitcake tastes like? Believe me, it is not pretty.” The old man also expressed his personal concerns about food safety, “I used to really look forward to the hot cocoa and homemade cookies left for me, but now some of these nuts are leaving raw milk out for me. Heck, the reindeer won’t even drink that stuff!”
Speaking of reindeer, I asked Santa if the animal activists were still giving him trouble. He replied, “No, not so much anymore. I put all the HSUS members on the naughty list, so they backed off. Besides, they couldn’t get any of the elves to make undercover videos for them. Nowadays they are all in New York trying to get the horses away from the carriages.”
Concluding the interview, I asked St Nick what he was going to do this Christmas. Were we all going to wake up on Christmas morning with kumquats under the tree? Taking a long drag on his pipe, he leaned back in his chair and smiled, “Well, yes, I have a plan. Just remember, there is a lot of magic in Christmas. I am Santa after all, and I am full of surprises.” With that, he gave me a wink and headed back to the workshop, muttering something about needing more hair for the Elsa dolls.
By Gary Truitt