Santa Clause has finally quit smoking!

Not only has Santa Clause been enjoying his tobacco pipe for centuries, he’s also enjoyed some time helping out advertising execs by selling cigarettes in the mid-20th century. But now Santa’s tobacco days are over!

In the latest illustrated book of the 1823 poem Twas the Night Before Christmas, publisher Pamela McColl took out the evocative line The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.” The cover of the book playfully proclaims it was edited by “Santa Claus for the benefit of children of the 21st century.”

The poem was originally published anonymously in a Dec. 23, 1823, in the Troy, NY Sentinel newspaper. The authorship has been greatly contested, but it is often attributed to Clement C. Moore.

McColl thinks that changes like this will help prevent children from smoking, and is even part of an organization seeking to eliminate the depiction of ANY type of smoking in films aimed towards young people, like 101 Dalmatians, for instance.

She also sees this edit of the poem as permanent, even against backlash from the literary and Santa Clause communities. She told The New York Post: “No one can backtrack now. Santa has stopped smoking, and 2012 is the year he quit, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

Nicholas Trolli, president of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, is incensed about the whole thing “Leave my story alone! This change is not officially sanctioned by the North Pole,” and some even view it as censorship.

The American Library Association’s Deborah Caldwell-Stone certain thinks it is “It’s denying access to the original voice of the author, and that’s censorship.”

What do you think? Is it better to have a smoke-free Santa Clause, or is this an act of censorship?

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  • Christina

    I guess it’s better that Santa isn’t smoking anymore but I don’t think it was that big of a deal to edit it out. It’s not like kids go around saying they want to smoke because Santa does.

  • me

    This is ridiculous. Let’s clean up every popular work of fiction that could be aimed at children so that kids are never exposed to anything negative. Hiding the world from their eyes is a great way to keep them from wanting to do harmful things! Let’s just keep them in tinted bubbles until they turn eighteen and then toss them out into the world!

    Seriously though, I watched 101 Dalmations tons of times as a child, have heard and read Twas the Night Before Christmas a zillion times and never once did I give hardly more than a passing thought to any smoking that was involved. Santa has a pipe? Okay, he’s an adult whatever. The adults in 101 Dalmations smoke? Okay, whatever. There is smoking EVERYWHERE. Should we ask all smokers to hide away from the populace whenever they need a fix so that our precious children don’t have to be influenced by them? I don’t care for smoking, but I’m not going to pretend like it doesn’t exist. I will talk to my son about the dangers and why I myself smoked once upon a time and then decided to quit. I will educate him, not hide reality from him.

  • Whitney

    How ridiculous! I don’t feel that pushy woman had a right to make this change to a centuries old story. If it’s that big of an issue to her, let her write her own story & let the people decide which to read to their children.

  • LetSantaSmoke

    They should’ve just left it alone. I’ve read that book several times and not once have I ever thought “oh look Santa smokes, I think I will too!” It’s stupid.

  • christee

    First Santa, then what? Chimneys? Turkey? Rudolph the highly allergic reindeer?! Give me a f#cking break. The only reason I can say I ever thought about smoking when I was a kid had way more to do with seeing relatives do it than it ever had to do with some imaginary character. If a person is doing their job as a parent, they don’t need some whackadoo know it all censoring what amounts to a bunch of very minor events in some classic stories.

  • Leah

    I think it’s great.

  • oldguy68

    This is plain dishonest (not to mention REALLY stupid) She is changing someone else’s work without notifying the reader and profiting from Moore’s original version. She apparently is incapable of creating a work of her own that would have similar appeal. Moore’s heirs should sue