A high ranking Elf Union source reported today that Santa is now considering retirement, following recent economic and environmental impacts to the North Pole and Santa's workshop.
The retirement speculation follows a report last week that Moody's had downgraded the North Pole's bond rating from AAA+ to BBB, while elf insiders have been leaking information to the press about declining morale and working conditions inside Santa's workshop. "Efficiency and profitability have been trending downward the last 10 years that's true", says Chief Financial Elf, Finny Debitt. "And apparently a Moody's analyst didn't get the Ferrari he wanted for Christmas last year. Oh sure. Like we do Ferraris here".
Elves not in the management ranks tell a grittier story. "The Polar Ice cap is melting, our workshop roof drips constantly, my fingers are pruning and my hair won't hold a curl", says stuffed teddy bear seamstress, Peggy Glitter. "That, and my mushroom and chocolate sandwich for lunch is always damp".
Other evidence of change on the continent is clearly visible. Environmentalists estimate that the magnetic North Pole now measures half its original size, partially impacted by polar ice melt but also reportedly a result of Viagra being dropped from new insurance plans and prescription coverage. "You know, I've had no other choice but to cut costs" says Santa, sipping on cup of no-brand, powdered cocoa then furrowing his bushy eyebrows downward. "Ugh. Tastes like Reindeer piss, and don't ask me how I know that".
Santa met with reporters to clarify rumors and to tell his tale of woe. "Even Mrs. Clause's cookies aren't looking as good as they used to. They used to be all soft and yummy, now they are pretty dry and crumbly". Mrs. Clause took exception to the comment, audibly crashing her cocoa cup down to a nearby table. "You're a fat, unappreciative bastard. See if you ever get your hands on my cookies again", said Mrs. Claus while exiting the room.
Referring to other factors like right to work initiatives in North Pole Congress that have angered the elf union, and increasing consumer demands from technology savvy kids who want the latest personal devices, Santa appeared to be exhausted from the stress. "I just can't make tablet computers and smart phones from wood and nails, you know?" said Santa. "I need to think about the whole ball of popcorn and make a decision about retirement next year".
Santa's comment sparked immediate follow up questions from the press, where he did confirm that his workshop would do everything in their power to meet demands for delivery this year. "Christmas is definitely a go for this year. I just can't disappoint those great kids all over the world, but maybe I can get that Tim Allen guy from Hollywood to step in next year and do me a solid".