Santa joins Oprah on the side­lines as he calls it quits af­ter 400 years of hard work

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

A FTER more than 400 years on the job, Santa Claus, also known as Fa­ther Christ­mas, Saint Nick and, in Afghanistan, Baba Chaghaloo, is call­ing it quits. His an­nounce­ment is the sec­ond shock­ing celebrity res­ig­na­tion to rock the world af­ter talk­show queen Oprah Win­frey an­nounced her re­tire­ment last week af­ter a sim­i­lar length of time in day­time tele­vi­sion.

In a press con­fer­ence at his North Pole home, Claus said: “I love my job and it’s been a won­der­ful four cen­turies. But it’s time to move on, to ex­plore my other op­tions. And take a hol­i­day! Ho-ho-ho. I de­serve it.”

Claus’ res­ig­na­tion will leave a huge void in the end-of-year fes­tive sea­son, but it’s not only chil­dren who are pan­ick­ing. Re­tail­ers world­wide have ex­pressed grave con­cern that without Santa the con­sumer fest that Christ­mas has be­come might re­turn to its spir­i­tual roots.

Hugh Green­back, head of the South African Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, was dis­mayed. “First the re­ces­sion, now this? There’s go­ing to be car­nage in the re­tail sec­tor. This is the black­est Christ­mas ever.”

But Claus’ res­ig­na­tion is not nec­es­sar­ily the end of Christ­mas. Sev­eral other hol­i­day mas­cots are al­ready vy­ing for the top job in sea­son fes­ti­vals.

The Easter Bunny’s agent, Thumper, says the rab­bit has put in a trans­fer ap­pli­ca­tion. “Mr Bunny is an ex­cel­lent can­di­date. He’s cud­dly, kids love him and he al­ready looks good in fur!”

But the Easter Bunny may have se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion from an­other mas­cot al­ready as­so­ci­ated with the hol­i­day. Kram­pus, Aus­tria’s de­mon goat who ac­com­pa­nies Santa Claus on Christ­mas Eve, is known for pun­ish­ing naughty chil­dren with a switch, steal­ing their presents and bundling them up in sacks.

“I can tone down the scary,” Kram­pus said, “and I get on fab­u­lously with the rein­deer. We’re prac­ti­cally re­lated.”

As for Santa Claus’ fu­ture plans? He says that he in­tends to keep on giv­ing by set­ting up a global net­work of brand new hol­i­days.

“Christ­mas, Valen­tine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanks­giv­ing and so on are all very sweet, very tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tions, but they haven’t re­ally kept up with mod­ern cul­ture.

“I’ll be launch­ing sev­eral all-new con­tem­po­rary hol­i­days that cash in on what’s hot right now, in­clud­ing Self-Ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion Through Wish­ful Think­ing Day (in con­junc­tion with Oprah), Cute Emo Vam­pire Day, Booty­call Day, and Buy Sh*t For Your­self You De­serve It Day.” re­ces­sion, a con­clu­sion they are said to have reached af­ter hear­ing Amer­i­can rap­per Maino’s hit, I Think I Might Give Away a Mil­lion Bucks, at a party at the week­end.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia from a booth in the Old Mu­tual car park where he now works as a night watch­man, for­mer econ­o­mist Up­side Long­bot­tom said Maino’s hit con­firmed sus­pi­cions that the worst was over.

“Eco­nomics is not an ex­act sci­ence,” he said, “it is about read­ing signs and mak­ing spec­u­la­tive guesses.

“But any­one who de­nies a sign like Maino’s is clearly delu­sional. Or they haven’t spent at least five years at uni­ver­sity,” he said.

He said the song served as con­fir­ma­tion of what economists al­ready knew.

“We had al­ready seen the Salt­i­crax in­dex drop eight points in the last three months,” he said, “which is al­ways a telling sign.”

Asked what the Salt­i­crax in­dex was, Long­bot­tom ex­plained it re­flected the date of the month on which the av­er­age house­hold started eat­ing Mar­mite and Salt­i­crax for din­ner. “It’s usu­ally around the 22nd of the month,” he said, “but at the bot­tom of the re­ces­sion we were hit­ting it on about the 4th. Right now we are on the 12th so there are def­i­nite signs of re­cov­ery.”

Long­bot­tom urged South Africans to help speed up the post re­ces­sion re­cov­ery in what­ever way they could.

“Max out your credit cards, bor­row from your bond or blow your 13th cheque on a flat screen TV.

“For the econ­omy to grow, money must flow,” he said. “There’s a term us economists like to use and that’s ‘eco­nomic ex­po­sure’.

“Ba­si­cally we want to be ex­posed to as much cash as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“Prefer­ably yours.”

ENOUGH AL­READY: Oprah Win­frey cried off day­time TV af­ter al­most 400 years on the job.

OUT: Re­tail­ers are dis­mayed by Santa’s res­ig­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.