You remember Santa Claus, the jolly white-haired gent? If you’ve read or heard Clement C. Moore’s classic holiday poem, A Visit From Saint Nicholas, you probably have a mental picture from the following lines:
“His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;”
The subsequent lines describe another of Santa’s hallmarks, his pipe. Well, no longer.
In Pamela McColl’s new edition of the poem, published by Grafton and Scratch, Saint Nick no longer boasts his “stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth”. Nor does smoke encircle his head “like a wreath.” McColl is an anti-smoking advocate who believes that her non-smoking Santa will prevent new smokers.
“In this world where all kinds of images barrage us in the street, on the internet and through mass media, energies should be directed at helping children navigate among messages and look at them critically rather than hoping for a magic solution by taking away Santa’s pipe.”
Readers of the new version will note Santa is still overweight, at least for now.