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When Climate Change Demons Kidnapped Santa

Dec. 9, 2022
In keeping with his annual holiday tradition, our light-hearted sustainability columnist here reimagines yet another Christmas classic for his loyal readers.

Adapted, with profuse apologies, from the original 1904 short story by L. Frank Baum.

As everyone knows, Santa Claus lives, works, and plays at the North Pole.

He has few complaints now, save his concern for the melting sea ice upon which his home and workshop are built. One would think that this jolly man, who’s dedicated his life only to making children happy by bringing gifts and saving the planet, would have no enemies on all the Earth; and, as a matter of fact, for a long time he encountered nothing but love wherever he went. 

But the Climate Change Demons, who live in the CFCs-depleted ozone layer, grew to hate Santa very much, since he made children happy and was trying to save the planet... in spite of the Demons’ total disregard for the environment.

There are five Demons in total: the Demon of Selfishness, the Demon of Envy, the Demon of Hatred, the Demon of Malice, and the Demon of Repentance (who was quite unlike the other Demons). One day,  the Demons held a meeting to discuss their hatred of Santa.

“I’m lonely,” said the Demon of Selfishness. “Santa gives gifts to all the kids and tells them to stop wasting energy, and none of the kids ever come to visit me, even though I tell them there is no such thing as climate change”.

“I have the same problem,” said the Demon of Envy. “The children are content with Santa and want to be good stewards of the earth, so I can’t convince them to be envious of the climate change deniers and energy wasters”.

“Well, if the kids are neither selfish nor envious, how can I get them to hate?” said the Demon of Hatred. “Some of them are so happy, they don’t even hate the politicians or the media!”

“That leaves me with nothing to encourage their meanness,” said the Demon of Malice.

“That’s also a problem for me,” said the Demon of Repentance. “If they’re not selfish, envious, full of hate, or mean and malicious, then they don’t need me”.

So they all concluded that Santa was ruining their lives and something had to be done. 

Demonic Temptations

After some discussion, they decided the best course of action was to tempt Santa to be like one of them. The next day, the Demon of Selfishness went to Santa’s workshop, where he and his elves were busy making toys. “Santa,” he said, “these toys are wonderful! You should keep them for yourself and not waste them on those unappreciating boys and girls.” 

“Nonsense,” said Santa with his eyes twinkling. “The children are well-behaved and happy when they know that I’m coming with toys.”

So the Demon of Selfishness had to report back that he had failed and that Santa wasn’t selfish. 

The next day, the Demon of Envy went to the workshop. “You know, Santa, the off-shore toy factories can make these same toys very quickly and sell them for a huge profit.” But Santa Claus just laughed at him, and said he wished the factories good luck. So the Demon of Envy also had to report his failure to the others.

Now, with the score Demons 0, Santa 2, the Demon of Hatred said he would give it a try. 

On the following day, he entered the workshop and told Santa: “Good morning, I have bad news for you!” 

“Then go away,” said Santa, “Bad news shouldn’t be spread.” 

“But you can’t ignore this news,” argued the Demon. “There are a lot of folks who don’t believe in you, and think your views on climate science are political foolishness. You should hate them as much as they hate you!”

“Balderdash,” said Santa, “I don’t hate them… I feel sorry for them because I know that they need help.”  

So, after failing yet again to tempt Santa, the frustrated Demons decided that the only solution was to kidnap Santa the very next night, which was Christmas Eve. 

A Christmas Miracle

That night, the moon was full, the air was clear, and the snow was crisp and sparkling as Santa whistled to his team of reindeer and went airborne. Suddenly, a lasso shot out from nearby and Santa was roped out of the sleigh. He landed in a snowbank below, while his sleigh full of toys kept going on its appointed route.

When he regained his senses, Santa realized that the Demons had tied him up and taken him to their hideout. The gleeful Demons believed that they had ruined Christmas for all of the kids, which no doubt would make them all more selfish, envious and full of hate. 

But what the Demons had not counted on was Santa's loyal elves – seated in their usual place beneath his grand chair in the sleigh. Emerging to take the controls, they miraculously finished Santa’s globetrotting rounds and delivered all his plethora of presents. 

Of course, in spite of the elves’ best efforts, a few kids did receive the wrong gifts, but the elves also gave them the app for free returns and exchanges. So, incredibly, there was little or no unhappiness on that Christmas morning, much to the Demons’ chagrin. 

Annoyed and angry, they taunted Santa, but he just ignored them. Finally, the Demon of Repentance could take it no more. Overwhelmed by regret, he repented and allowed Santa to escape (who by the way, wished him a "Merry Christmas" on the way out). As he made his way back to the North Pole, Santa soon saw his army of elves on their way to rescue him.

After thanking them for their support and hugging each with his white beard floating in the breeze and his bright eyes sparkling with pleasure, he told them: “It’s useless to pursue these Demons, my friends. The deniers and haters, unfortunately, have their place in this world and can never be completely defeated.”

As for the Demons, though, their own "climate" had actually changed.

They were so embarrassed and humiliated by the reality that they had failed to make Christmas a day of selfishness, envy, hatred, and malice... that they vowed from that day forward, to never interfere with Santa’s Christmas Eve journey ever again.

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A regular contributor to HPAC Engineering and a member of its editorial advisory board, the author is a principal at Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC, a south Florida-based engineering firm focusing on energy and sustainability. He can be reached at [email protected].