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Dori Monson

Bizarro-world: Santa Claus' pipe snuffed out

Yes, Santa Claus is a smoker. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas smokes a pipe and the smoke curls up into a wreath that hovers around his head. It's all in the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas," until now.

Canadian author Pamela McColl has cleaned up Santa in her new book, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." No longer do you have to read "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth/and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath." And don't worry, the illustrator also took out the smokey wreath.

Pretty soon, Santa will be a spinach-eating body builder who gives you three days notice before coming to your home.

Says the publisher:

"I am writing this letter to provide background information about this special edition. This poem is in the public domain and has been edited and altered countless times over the past 189 years - to my knowledge this is the first time Santa has specifically not smoked. Prior changes have including the very title...If you read historical accounts of the author's intent, it was to limit religious differences and spread a message of joy and grace. Santa not smoking does not distract from the sentiment or original goals of the writer. This edit was made for the benefit of young readers. In 1998 the United States Government made it illegal to use cartoon characters to advertise tobacco products as a result of research that established a causal link between young children exposed to cartoon characters smoking and a sympathy for tobacco products." And it goes on and on.

While we all understand three, four, and five-year-olds are very impressionable, Dori doesn't believe our kids are going to really light up and jump down a chimney.

That said, 6-year-old Dori could have really used this change to the story as a two-pack-per-day smoker.

What you're saying on Facebook:

Kim Taylor Santa probably has Type 2 Diabetes from being obese and eating sugary carbohydrates too. Who cares?!

Brian George Stuart Frosty the Snowman and his corn pipe rre next (evil laugh) ha ha ha.

Daniel Finnigan Santa needs his stomach stapled next.

Parke Schneider Well now the Cookie Monster eats carrot sticks.

Kevin Nelson Getting tired of all this PC BS. What's next, Oscar the Grouch becomes a nice guy and moves out of his garbage can and into a high rise?

Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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