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Ever since the little boy saw his mommy kissing him, Santa Claus has been having trouble. Mercifully, the boy was discreet enough not to tell his daddy because, “What a trouble that would be, if dad could only see, mommy kissing Santa Claus last night!”

Clearly, Santa has not been the pillar of probity. King Obstinate accused him of ignoring his annual requests and only bringing gifts for the wife. In fact, Obstinate gets downright dirty by making fun of Santa’s big belly and telling him point-blank that, this year, he will not be “Getting none of the rum at all, at all.” Look, we are not saying that Santa Claus has not done much good. Kids have worked hard at school and been on their best behaviour in the hopes that Santa will be kind. And for the most part, he has. 

Of course, Santa has had many helpers over the years. For example, Nap Hepburn fulfilled the Christmas wish of the little boy who begged his mama for ‘a trumpet and a concertina.’ Plus, many kind-hearted folks have delivered gifts to kids in the name of Santa Claus. Even at the post office, postal workers have read the “Letters To Santa” and made an attempt to put a smile on the faces of our little ones. Not forgetting to mention the many NGO’s and associations that chipped in to make Christmas brighter. For example, some of the Old Boys of the Antigua Grammar School made handsome gift donations to six of the current students who were identified as being in need. We certainly salute that fine gesture.

Nonetheless, Santa Claus has been having a hard time. Notwithstanding Lord Nelson’s recommendation that we give Santa a car with a chauffeur and ‘a new continental suit,’ Santa is still travelling around the world in the well-worn red suit on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. I hear that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) plans to protest what they allege is his abuse of Prancer, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph. To counteract animal abuse claims, Obstinate suggests that Santa could “Fly LIAT or Bee-Wee.” 

Then, there is the problem of the absence of chimneys on our places of abode. Nelson says that we should simply open a window or the front door because “Climbing down a chimney is a whole lotta stupidness.” Interestingly, Nelson goes even further by suggesting that we should give Santa “An apartment with modern equipment.” But the labour unions are not on board with this plan. After all, with more modern technology and automation, many elves could soon be out of work. 

Meanwhile, with all the hullaballoo about ‘global warming,’ Santa is worried that there might soon not be enough snow for him to travel by sleigh. Some have suggested that he use drones as an alternative. Nap Hepburn says that we should give him a helicopter.

Not surprisingly, some men are resisting Lord Nelson’s suggestion that we take Santa “To a night club or a movie; with some nice chicks; throw him a party … to ensure that he comes more than once a year.” These men are saying that they should be the only ones handing out gifts. After all, if Santa comes more than once a year with gifts, he will be undermining the leverage that these ‘sugar daddies’ have over less-fortunate women. Plus, there are only but so many chicks to go around. If Santa Claus gets into the ‘chick-getting’ business, that can only mean less chicks for these ‘lickrish’, ‘want-all’ men. And we simply can’t abide that now, can we?

Meanwhile, in some of the islands, there is a move to ban Santa Claus. Seems, more than a few persons are having a problem with him shouting “Ho! Ho! Ho!” (Pun intended)

Poor Santa Claus! In this politically correct world, he can’t seem to catch a break. Some have called for more diversity in his work force. After all, elves aren’t the only ones who can paint a doll or put wheels on a toy car. Then there is the question of ‘white’ Santa. Some have claimed that he should employ more ‘Santas of colour’ to take care of gift distribution in places like the West Indies. After all, a white Santa handing out gifts to children of colour reeks of white paternalism. 

Then, there are the health enthusiasts who claim that Santa is morbidly obese and that he should try to lose some weight. They say that he is setting a poor example to those who might be inclined to overeat. Thus, they will no longer be leaving him any milk and cookies. Not that Santa seems to mind. He is manifestly more interested in the ‘rum-and-pork.’ Look, Santa Claus is a fantasy much like the tooth fairy and the Wizard of Oz, and kids quickly figure it out.

 Nonetheless, there are many who fear that Santa Claus is replacing Christ as the central figure of Christmas. Indeed, there are many conspiracy theorists who claim that even the name ‘Santa’ is actually a rearrangement of the letters that spell ‘Satan.’ They have a visceral fear of Santa. Some call it ‘claus-trophobia’ (Pun intended.) Seems, Santa Claus has problems. He can’t even smoke his pipe in peace without anti-smoking activists griping about the harm caused by second-hand smoke and the lousy message that he is sending to our kids.

But don’t feel sorry for Santa. He is a survivor. Over the years, he has endured with much aplomb, barking dogs, sooty chimneys, squabbling reindeer and the ire of a few disappointed kids. Seems Santa is driven to distraction at times. According to Pluto Shervington, Santa was seen in Jamaica with Rasta Ozzie furtively buying “a pound of dat ting there.” In Trinidad, he was so taken by the parang that he lost a great deal of valuable time while learning to ‘dingolay.’ In Antigua, he was observed drinking eggnog down in Tinning Village. Later that same evening, he was caught eating souse with Dread and the Baldhead. In St. Kitts, he was spotted partaking of sweet bread and ginger beer. In St Vincent, seems he had too much of the rum cake, and in the Virgin Islands, he imbibed goodly portions of the guavaberry. In Montserrat, he joined a string band and was seen jamming to Lord Kitchener’s, ‘Drink A Rum And A Ponche Crema.’ It is said that he not only sang, but actually drank plenty rum.

Meanwhile, they had to physically remove him from the lechon (roasted pork) in Puerto Rico. And in the Dominican Republic, he was caught stuffing pernil (baked pork shoulder) into his boots. When the folks in Curacao heard of his shenanigans, it is alleged that they hid the ham. Apparently, Santa loves his pork. He calls it “The sweetest meat!” Our Managing Director, Algernon ‘Serpent‘ Watts, our Station Manager, Dave Lester Payne, and one of our VOP hosts, Paul Quinn, agree whole-heartedly with the jolly old fella. The other VOP host, Franz deFreitas, insists on pleading the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. Anyway, last we heard of Santa, he was taking a quick midnight dip in the warm waters of Coco Point in Barbuda to clear his head. As the Barbudans put it, when he arrived in Codrington, he was “Tiff-tone drunk!”

Obviously, he is having fun. See, it is the one night of the year when he can get away from Mrs. Claus, and he makes the most of it. Now, we can’t begrudge Santa that, can we? We submit that, you too would ‘breakaway’ and be driven to ‘rum-and-pork’ if you had to spend 364 days cloistered in the North Pole with Mrs Claus in her horn-rimmed eye-glasses, her everlasting night-cap and her ‘bingo-bag’ bloomers. 

Look, if Santa is happy, all the kids will be happy. And if our kids are happy, then so will we be. We here at NEWSCO take this opportunity to wish all Antiguans and Barbudans a most enjoyable Christmas, and a safe, healthy and rewarding 2021. May the good Lord bless us all!