Smoke-free Santa

Santa may have passed his recent physical at the Mayo Clinic, but he’s not necessarily the picture of health.

He has a big, round belly. He eats entirely too many sweets. And he puffs on a pipe.

A Canadian anti-smoking crusader, however, has done something about Saint Nick’s smoking habit. She’s deleted it from the classic “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”)

Pamela McColl used her own money to publish a new version of the book, this one without the lines “stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth” and “the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.”

McColl also worked with illustrators to create images without pipes and smoke.

“I just really don’t think Santa should be smoking in the 21stcentury,” McColl told the Los Angeles Times.

Not everyone agrees.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom, said: “Such censorship misrepresents the artist’s original work and relies wholly on the idea that children are incapable of critical thinking or that a parent’s guidance and training are meaningless,” according to The Guardian.

McColl’s 21st-century version of the book also came with a message from Santa on the back flap, saying his fur is fake and he has “decided to leave all of that old tired business of smoking well behind us.”

But don’t worry. McColl isn’t interested in tackling any of Santa’s other bad habits.

“He doesn’t eat in the story. That’s not my issue,” she told the LA Times. “That’s Jamie Oliver and other people’s issue.”

What do you think about a smoke-free Santa?

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