About the Santa Quits Smoking Version
What would you do if Elmo, Mickey Mouse and Snoopy took up smoking? There would be riots! However, the fact that Jolly Old St. Nicholas has been smoking for over a century has not seemed to ruffle any feathers – that is – until Pamela McColl came into the picture and edited the classic Christmas story, Twas The Night Before Christmas.
The intent of the edit is to secure the future of the most famous poem in the English language and to put a spotlight on what can be done to help prevent youth from taking up smoking. The deleted verse is as follows: “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.” The new illustrations no longer depict Santa with his pipe or the cloud of smoke around his head.
McColl’s goals and messages are quite clear:
· To advocate for changes that better protect children against the dangers of smoking.
· To make parents, grandparents and teachers more aware of the influence smoking depictions in our media, books, movies, videos, television and entertainment has on our children.
· To join the call for legal reforms that limit children’s exposure to images of smoking.
· To educate youth on the influence of nicotine marketing and the nature of addiction.
· To help parents protect their children from “the pediatric disease” and gateway drug, nicotine.
McColl issues a “Letter from Santa” in her book that informs adults that “In this updated edition select lines have quietly slipped from the pages. Here at the North Pole we decided to leave all of that old tire business of smoking well behind us and I am pleased to report that we have never been healthier or happier. The reindeer asked that I confirm the fact that I have only ever worn fake fur out of respect for the endangered species that are in need of our protection, including my dear friends those arctic polar bears.”
Let me start by saying that I know there is some controversy surrounding this. Leaving the traditions as they are versus updating for current times. I have been trying to get my husband to quit smoking for a very long time. I tell the boys that it is an unhealthy habit and that it’s bad for their health. I personally liked this version of the story because it was one less mention of tobacco in a daily barrage of commercials, radio ads and mail advertisements. The first time I read it through I honestly missed it, the sentence that was removed. I had to go back and re read it to see where it was changed. The removal of the pipe does not take away from the story at all in my opinion. This is still the treasured story that millions of families read together every year at Christmas time. The book is beautiful, the illustrations are gorgeous. This will be put up and saved to be read again and again after this Christmas.