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SANTAPEDIA: Anti-Child Attitudes at the North Pole in the 1950’s

A union’s proposal jeopardizes child safety.


Credible Christmas historians have long known that the North Pole was not always a child-friendly place. This was evident in the early 1950’s, when resentment over impossible Christmas Eve toy delivery schedules was intense. On February 11, 1952, the rancorous “This ain’t milk and cookies…” negotiating session took place at the North Pole. The following reconstruction of part of that session comes from personal diaries, published first hand reports, and transcripts of audio tapes.*

This article deals with the infamous “Santa Surrogate Proposal” frequently referred to as “Bears Bearing Gifts.”

The Santa Surrogate Proposal (Bears Bearing Gifts)

By 1950, the IRDA (International Reindeer Delivery Association) had become so strong that its influence was no longer counter-balanced by the UEWW (United Elves World Wide). As the following transcript shows, the IRDA was demanding, not negotiating. Their first demand was the controversial ”Santa Surrogate Proposal” that Santa opposed on child safety grounds. Blitzen, the IRDA president, was the lead negotiator.

Start transcript

Blitzen: Santa, the notion that only you can deliver a present is asinine. It’s 1952. There are over two and one-half billion people out there! By 2025 that number might reach seven billion. You can’t keep servicing them all. You’re not Sinatra.

(Reindeer chortling in background.)

Santa: I can’t believe this is happening.

Blitzen: What we propose is simple. We start using multiple Santas to deliver on Christmas Eve!

Santa: You mean Santa impersonators?

Blitzen: I prefer to call them ‘Santa Surrogates’.

Santa: Santa Surrogates? The Elves won’t like this.

Blitzen: The Elves can kiss my prong. They’re not the ones that have to drag your fat butt around in negative forty wind chills. Besides, I’m not talking Elves. I’m talking Polar Bears!

SANTA: Polar Bears?

BLITZEN: Is there an echo in here? Yes, Polar Bears. I call the initiative ‘Bears Bearing Gifts,’ or BBG. Isn’t that catchy? Anyway, we put the Polar Bears in Santa suits and fake beards and sleighs and let them deliver presents on Christmas Eve.

Santa: The children won’t like it. They want Santa.

Blitzen: The little tykes won’t know the difference. From a distance, the bears will look like the real deal.

Santa: But what about close up? What if some little child stumbles upon a delivery and confronts a bear in his house? That could scare him to death and damage him forever!

Blitzen: Not a problem, Santa. Remember, kids are resilient little buggers. Sure, a tyke might piss on himself. But after he does and stops screaming and calms down, the Bear just smiles and delivers a script that will go something like this….

(Blitzen dons a smile that has been described as condescending by some sources, and frighteningly evil by others.)

Blitzen: Don’t be scared, my adorable little beautiful precious sweet wonderful loving little boy or girl. Don’t cry. Santa is still recovering from his hip replacement at the North Pole. He’s sorry that he couldn’t come. So he sent me. I’m a very, very, very special magical bear. He sent me just for you!

Santa: Hip replacement?

Blitzen: Just a little senior humor, Santa.

Santa: But now word will get out that bears are delivering presents, not Santa!

Blitzen: Hang on, Big Guy. There’s more to the script.

(Blitzen gets back into character.)

Blitzen: But this has to be our secret, my precious adorable little person! Understand? You can’t tell anyone about me ever. Not even Mommy and Daddy. Especially Mommy or Daddy! (Blitzen snarls.) Because if you do tell Mommy and Daddy, I’ll come back and bite their faces and eat them!”

(Reindeer guffaws are heard in the background. A shout of ‘Yeah, eat their faces!’ is heard from the back of the room.)

Santa: Blitzen! That’s horrible!

(Blitzen reassumes normal facial expression.)

Blitzen: Sometimes I sleigh me. Just a little carnivore humor, Santa. Forget the eating part. The rest of the script will work fine. Ninety-nine percent of little kids in the world are so stupid that they’ll buy the magic bear and secret stuff. The other one percent no one will believe anyway.

Santa: Little children are not stupid! Innocent or gullible, perhaps, but not stupid.

Blitzen: Whatever.

Santa: And what about that one percent? It will be very traumatic for them. It could scar them for life.

Blitzen: You can’t make an omelet without cracking some eggs, Santa! And this proposal is non-negotiable. We give it a shot, or off we trot. This ain’t milk and cookies.

End transcript

The BBG (Bears Bearing Gifts) model was implemented, but was abandoned shortly thereafter when an enraged Polar Bear trainee killed and ate his reindeer instructor. Ironically, the Polar Bears negotiated a profitable agreement with Coca-Cola decades later that often depicted them in sleighs, Santa garb, and other Christmas settings. Little kids loved the ads, as did the Elves. The Reindeer found them disingenuous.



1. Santa in Anguish: Rudolph’s Diary, © 1963, Santa Press.
2. A Union Run Amok: The Reindeers, © 1958, Journal of the United Elves of the World, Vol. 14.
3. Beware of Bears Bearing Gifts, © 1978, North Pole Child Welfare Bureau Abstracts, Vol. III.
4. Why I Always Knew that Santa was a Weak Pussy, © 1984, Blitzen the Reindeer, Houghton-North Pole Publishers.
5. We Were There When Santa Folded: Participants’ Interviews, © 1952, North Pole Tribune.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Contact info: leegpoetry@gmail.com

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