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Santa Takes a Holiday

At the North Pole it was different this season
With all the elves there discussing the reason
Something was wrong with their boss ol' St. Nick.
They secretly wondered if he'd not taken sick.

See, Santa was feeling a bit uncreative,
Apathetic, indifferent and not innovative.
Christmas was coming up lickety split
And Santa didn't care, not one little bit.

And what's more Santa Claus really couldn't remember
Why he went to such trouble every December.
It had nothing to do with hard work or old age
Santa was going through an all burnt out stage.

But Santa had duties, as all of us do
And Santa had no one to delegate to.
So he thought and reflected then he mused and he pondered
Then he paused for a moment and then he wondered--

"Why not hire a consultant to come and help out
With running the business? For a small fee, no doubt."
Then Santa proceeded with delineation
Of a scheme that would get him a well-earned vacation.

The lead elf said "Santa, what's wrong now? What is it?"
Santa replied he was going to visit
His aunt in New Jersey-was leaving that day.
The elf cried "But Christmas is just weeks away!"

So Santa explained he had hired a consultant,
And happily went on vacation, exultant
About being able to finally relax
Without scanning wish lists from the new North Pole fax.

He tried to relax, I'm sure really he tried,
But relaxing was more work than he'd realized.
He just wasn't used to not ever knowing
So he called up the workshop to see how it was going.

Santa asked the lead elf if things were getting done.
And the elf explained how things were now being run.
"Our mission statement is nearly complete
And the team's common vision will be drafted next week.

"We've learned how to contact our innermost selves."
Santa asked "Are the toys built and piled on the shelves?"
"You mean end-user products? We're still trying to sort
Them by value-added fields for the weekly report."

"So they're built and you're sorting them onto the shelf?"
"No, Santa, you're getting ahead of yourself.
Before we can do that we must all agree
On our paradigm and the goals of the team."

"Well, the goal, as I see it, is to get the toys built-
Which requires that the shop now be working full tilt-
Get them put on the sleigh and get them shipped out of here."
The elf said "I wish it were really that clear.

"We're now facing probable workforce reductions."
"Layoffs?" "Oh, no! Human resource deductions.
To right-size the workforce in a proactive manner
In dynamic markets, like it says in my planner."

"And we need to empower our team members, too,
Devising a system to channel feelings through."
St. Nick caught the next flight up north from New Jersey
And rushed back to find the whole place topsy-turvy.

And when Santa dropped by the workshop himself,
Hoping to see all the toys on a shelf,
Ready to pack in his magic toy sack
And be piled on the sleigh way up high in the back . . .

What he saw instead caught the old gent by surprise-
The traditional gleam seemed to fade from his eyes-
The elves were all sitting around being witty
In a proactive outcome-based elf team committee.

After St. Nick sent the consultants packing
His lead elf said (since he could sense Santa's lacking
The rest that a man should enjoy at his age)
"Let the government take charge. That's the current rage."

Yet Santa still harbored some deep reservations
Since instead of workshops those people ran nations.
But he filled out the papers (in triplicate to be thorough)
And sent them all off to the Santa's aid bureau.

Quick as you could say "Hooray for democracy"
The place became filled with icons of bureaucracy.
As Christmas drew near Santa grew apprehensive
Wondering if the preparations were adequately extensive.

So Santa went out to the shop floor to ask
The lead elf if everything was all still on task
Because he'd heard maybe things weren't getting done.
The elf said "We're busy, Just ask anyone.

"We're cranking out rules at phenomenal rates
Regulations in stacks and in piles and in crates.
Guidelines and statutes and edicts and decrees,
Directives, instructions, dictates and policies.

"Regulations regarding how much weight your old sleigh
Can carry aloft when it leaves the runway.
Executive orders about safety gear
That must be installed on your sleigh by next year.

"There are guidelines galore about what kind of toys
Can be given to girls and given to boys.
And we've almost completed our doing away with
The guidelines about giving toys kids like to play with.

"The rules about good and bad children are gone
'Cause they're not values neutral, but we're working on
New rules that don't focus on conduct or manners.
They're based on warm fuzzies instead of on standards.

"And all of those workers that were nearly shown the door
Are safely employed now, those people and more.
The sectors that used to run fine with three guys
Are now way behind with a staff twice the size.

"We're filing the proper proposals today
To get a deferral 'til sometime in May."
"A deferral?" cried Santa, "What're you talking about?"
"The date for this Christmas deal's not working out.

"Fiscal year budgets are just coming due
That time in December. On top of that, too,
There's a problem with all your replacements, you see,
Their confirmations are stalled in a senate committee.

"Did you realize all your reindeer are male?
That kind of bias just doesn't set well
With the public at large so we're recruiting new reindeer
That "look like America" in terms of ethnics and gender.

"Now a problem's come up out in sector G-3
They ran out of form One Nine Six slash Four C.
The trouble's we can't find the forms that we need
To order more forms. That's a tough one, indeed."

Instead of a problem now Santa had two
Or three, maybe more, but he knew what to do.
Relaxing didn't work for him, it certainly did not.
Seems he didn't not care as much as he thought.

Santa discovered the stress that is haunting you
Flees if you do chores in spite of not wanting to.
You start out of duty, but once you're in motion
You'll find that you finish because of devotion.

So at the North Pole things got right back to usual
With Santa in charge of the wish list perusal.
And the man in the cab of the sleigh Christmas night
Will be the same Santa on his annual flight.

Frank Leany

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