Santa quits smoking in edited version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'

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A small re-write of a beloved holiday poem has a lot of creatures stirred up. T'was the night before Christmas, and traditionalists choke at changes that make Santa give up the smokes. A Canadian publisher's attempts to weed out tobacco from Clement Moore's poem has made some readers ashen ... even Santa Claus himself argues it is censorship and political correctness gone wild.



Santa quits smoking in edited version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' - Publisher of Edited Version

Parents have been reading Clement Moore's A Visit From Saint Nicholas, to their children for nearly two centuries. And it's no wonder. It's a catchy, feel-good poem about a visit from the jolliest, most generous guy in the world.

A generous guy with dependency issues. Santa's taste for pipes and smoking indoors got one Vancouver woman so riled, she made it her mission to make Old Saint Nick butt out - at least in print.

Pamela McColl self-published a new, smoke-free version of the poem, deleting the offending lines and removing Santa's pipe from the illustrations. Her book has won the support of anti-smoking activists like the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

To talk about a smoke-free Santa, we were joined by Pamela McColl. She is the publisher of Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus. And she was in Vancouver.

Santa quits smoking in edited version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' - American Library Association

But some believe classic works aren't to be messed with. After all, Santa also wore fur and likely ate too many carbs in the poem... two more potential no-no's.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone has some concerns about the poem's edit. She's the deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. She was in Chicago.

Santa quits smoking in edited version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' - History Professor

The big guy himself is unreachable until well after Boxing day. But Nicholas Trolli, the president of The Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, did chime in.

Even when the poem was written in 1823, the way we portray Santa Claus had undergone enormous transformations. He began as a Byzantine bishop and went on to shill for Coca Cola.

With more on the incredible transitions, we were joined by Gerry Bowler, author of Santa Claus: A Biography and a history professor at the University of Manitoba. He was in Vernon, British Columbia.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins.


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