Claus checked his ledgers in Quickbooks. It was not a task he enjoyed.
He fondly remembered the days when the smoke encircled his head like a wreath. He quit smoking a pipe a decade or two ago, but he still missed the pungent aroma of his tobacco. What he did not miss was the sore tongue and hacking cough he would often get.
When Christmas was taken over by the corporate gift manufacturers he had shaken his head and withdrawn in total disbelief. “How could they corner the market on gifts so quickly,” Claus remembered saying.
He had long since had to retire much of his elf force. The elves just could not compete with the prices the corporations charged for general gifts of all shapes and sizes. Soon metal toys replaced his home-made-by-elfen-hands wooden toys.
As if that were not bad enough, the metal toys makers cut back on production and the plastic toy makers flooded the market with every size and shape of plastic toys that were conceivable. The oil cartel would not sell the oils for making plastics to the North Pole Charitable Organization, St. Nicholas, Proprietor.
For Claus, these were perilous times.
One day a group of corporate lawyers met with Claus to discuss the possibility of his contracting for delivery for their orders.
“We will allow you to charge a delivery fee,” they proposed. “It could be a very big deal for you. Remember, you are not getting any younger. Long term care is expensive and we can sell you insurance for that out of the money you charge for delivery of our goods.”
Claus had to think about that: a delivery fee for Santa. Extraordinary, to be sure, but in step with the times. Tradition breaking. But these are times to try a person’s pocket book.
When he examined his ledger on Quickbooks, he could easily see that he had been running at a loss for almost five hundred years. “Why, then,” he thought, “would I need long-term care insurance? These men must think me to be a sucker.”
“If they keep it up, the way it is going,” Claus thought, “then I may as well retire. They do not understand that the gifts were not what I delivered. I delivered the love that made the gifts, not the gifts themselves. It has always been so, as long as my spirit has been around. If love no longer makes the gifts, then my delivery is in vain.”
The corporate lawyers did not agree with Claus. “Love” they said, “was a personal thing and the corporations are personal, therefore what they made was made with love, as Clause has admitted that love is what he delivered to persons like the corporations.”
Clause could not quite follow their logic.
Of course, the debate ended up in court.
The parties were forced to define some kind of argument for a favorable judgment. Who had been injured? Who had been financially cheated? What was the duty, if any, for Claus?”
Claus argued that because he had been working gratis of his own free will, there was no loss at all.
The corporations argued that Claus could not have a monopoly on love giving, that they were entitled to give love as well and could do it better than an old white guy that does not appeal to the Muslim and the Buddhist nor the Hindu faiths, among many others. We, they claimed, have a far better market share in love giving that is good for the world economy as a whole.
The court ruled that corporations were better fitted to distribute love than The North Pole Charitable Organization, St. Nicholas, Proprietor.
Claus retired, forced out by world non-opinion and legal issues.
Due to his eternal nature, he still distributed his love where it is most needed.
Let us hope he is not ordered to cease and desist.