With the Christmas frenzy over and his sack empty, Mr. Santa Claus is taking his well-earned rest, but things are not all that peaceful at the North Pole.
The elves and the reindeer were seen packing stuff and this was not the usual toy stuff, but serious family stuff. Mr. and Mrs. Santa and the team will be moving out from the North Pole to a new base next year, Mr. Shorter Green, Santa's spokes-elf, announced yesterday.
Changing climate and unchanging economy have been the main factors in the decision to relocate, the spokes-elf says. "Polar ice is melting and the economy is not getting any better, particularly in the Western world, where we do most of our business."
And the next home for the Clauses and their subordinates won't be the U.S., or Europe, but the other end of the world. No, it's not Australia or South Africa; not even Argentina or Chile.
It's North Korea!
Why North Korea? We asked the spokes-elf.
"Why not?" replied Mr. Green. "The country is an ideal location for us. It is cold and pretty much as isolated as the North Pole, even more, I should say. At the North Pole, the regular traffic of scientific and environmental expeditions have become a bloody nuisance. In North Korea, you'd have difficulty to get even a news reporter in; well, at least anywhere outside their capital, Ping Pong. Also, the food supply should be better there than here at the Pole because the North Koreans get food aid every now and then."
Santa's base camp will be near the Chinese border in the north. "Nearly all the presents we have delivered these past several years were made in China. Moving close to China would be immensely helpful logistically." The gift items can be packed at their production sites in China and simply moved across the border and loaded into the sack.
In addition, says Mr. Green, the elves can find employment during the off season, which is nearly all the year except the few days around Christmas. "We look like kids, so we won't have any problem getting a job at, say, a shoe-making factory or a similar enterprise," said Mr. Green, grinning.
Then why not China? Why North Korea?
"For both practical and aesthetic reasons," replied Mr. Green. "China is not as isolated, and may I dare say, not as politically stable. Look at North Korea! Even after three changes in the presidency over the past few decades, their internal political apparatus is just the same, as cracked as before.
"And aesthetically speaking, there is North in North Korea, and like the North Pole, North Korea is also on an axis, although it's been branded an evil axis. But who knows, it might become a friendly nation again if Ms. Palin becomes the next U.S. president. They like her there for what she says about them."
And with this move will anything change for Santa?
"Not much. Perhaps a new name. You may also call him Kim Kringle."