Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, unfortunately, he can't pay his mounting debt and therefore won't be visiting your home with lots of toys and goodies.
Due to the economic downturn felt all over the globe, Santa Claus International has been forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A press release issued at the last minute Friday had the jolly old elf himself near tears as he announced that his beloved toy operation would no longer exist, and he would be staying put in the North Pole this year instead of delivering toys to children and adults around the world.
"Do you know how much an ounce of pixie dust costs these days?" asked a forlorn Santa. This reporter had no idea as pixie dust isn't traded on the stock exchange, but Santa claims that having to buy it at a premium this year has been partially to blame for his decision to throw in the towel and admit defeat. That, and the fact that earlier this year, Standard and Poor's downgraded Santa Claus International's credit rating to a B minus, causing investors to pull out and put their money in other ventures.
This financial hit forced St. Nick to lay off over half his elves and ship production to many of his toys to China. Santa noted that it pains him to see so many favorites like Lincoln logs and the game Twister now bearing the stamp, Made in China.
"And here's the real kicker," said Santa.
"The Chinese government holds a good portion of my debt and they have decided this year to call in their chips. So, even though they are the ones making my toys, they still can't find it in their hearts to forgive some of my debt to keep Santa Claus International afloat."
Santa believes the President of the People's Republic of China is getting back at him for a slight that happened many years ago when he, Xi Jinping was eight years old.
"I remember Xi very well," said Santa. "He wanted a toy convertible car. All we could come up with was a wooden truck that was hand-made by one of our elves. Of course, I knew this wouldn't satisfy the privileged youth, but what could I do? We didn't receive his letter until late in the season and we had to improvise. Little did I know that one little mistake in judgment would come back to bite me in the ass years later."
Back to Santa's woes, the jolly fat man says he does have a couple of tricks left up his sleeve to save Christmas, but it is a long shot.
"Our storehouse at the North Pole is filled to the rafters with toys that, while overnight sensations of their time, never really had staying power. We have about 500,000 or so pet rocks, a million and a half mood rings, and thousands of bootleg Tickle Me Elmos, among other discontinued items. The thing is, giving these out to kids who nowadays are expecting much more exciting gifts may do more to harm the holiday than to help keep it from going belly under."
And then there is 'Duck Dynasty.' Santa claims that the producers at A&E have told him they are sitting on a ton of unsold duck calls, bobble head figures, and Chia pet Si Robertsons. With the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson's recent comments regarding gays and slaves, A&E isn't sure it can rid the stuff quick enough. Walmart seems to be the only major chain that hasn't stopped selling Duck Dynasty promotional products. A&E has offered the whole lot to Santa for less than cost, but they haven't heard back from the beleaguered elf as of the filing of this report.
The Trustee assigned to Santa Claus International's bankruptcy case says that while Santa is never one to look a gift horse in the mouth (no pun intended), taking gifts from a group of biased duck hunters is entirely a different story.
So, the question on everyone's mind is "will Santa Claus International be able to survive Chapter 11 bankruptcy in time to ready itself for Christmas 2014? Short of a bi-partisan effort to save Christmas, most financial prognosticators say probably not.
But there is hope, say most Christian religious leaders. After all, Santa was never the reason for the season in the first place.