Santa Quits Smoking in New Version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’
As a role model for kindness and generosity, you can’t do much better than Santa. But let’s face it — he’s not exactly the picture of health. If the jolly old elf can’t bring himself to drop a few pounds, at least he’s recently given up smoking.
Anti-smoking crusader Pamela McColl of Vancouver, Canada, mortgaged her home and spent $200,000 to self-publish a new version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ in which Santa gives up pipe tobacco.
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Specifically, McColl removed these lines: “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.” Then, she added a letter from Santa on the jacket flap proclaiming that he’s kicked the dirty habit.
Reaction to the edited poem has been mixed. Pediatricians and children’s advocates support McColl’s revision, but others, like the American Library Association, call it censorship. One rabid Santa fan even wished McColl dead.
“I have been called every name in the book,” she said. “One person said the only wreath they want to see this Christmas is one on my grave. Shame, shame, shame on you is the most common.”
What do you think of this new version of the holiday favorite? Is it likely to prevent kids from smoking? Or is it a blatant case of censoring a classic work of literature?