Santa's Memo for Holiday Production Schedules During Shutdown

To: All Departments, Holiday Gifts & Sundries, Inc.

From: S. Claus, Senior VP of Supply Chain Logistics

RE: Global Holiday Production Schedules During Shutdown

To the employees of Holiday Gifts & Sundries, let me say how much I appreciate everyone pulling together and working through such a tough time in our history.

People around the world are getting sick, all transportation has been cut back, and it's getting tough for deliveries to get through. The situation has certainly put a crimp on our holiday production efforts as we've been scrambling to locate resources, meet production milestones, and prepare for our respective delivery schedules.

But I am pleased with how everyone has pulled together and come up with some creative solutions to our problems. Still, there are a few new policies I would like to implement.

As the Christmas division is running dangerously low on raw materials, we've begun recycling a lot of our scrapped or failed products in order to keep up with our production schedule.

We did have an issue where some Black Panther Slash Claws were installed into a set of toy robots, but they were discovered before they were put into circulation. Also, despite what you may have heard, no one was disemboweled. It was merely some superficial wounds, and those elves will return to work after their physical therapy is complete.

Arbor Day is already ahead of the repurposing curve, and has been packaging pine cones as "do-it-yourself tree kits" to give away during the Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration in a couple weeks. Any other associates who have similar suggestions are encouraged to place them in your department's suggestion box for further exploration.

(I would ask that the April Fool's department use the online suggestion forms in the future. The last manager who opened one of your suggestion boxes received a corneal abrasion from one of your spring-loaded snakes. She is expected to make a full recovery, but has asked to be transferred to Mother's Day.)

Other departments, like Halloween, are experiencing similar shortages in raw materials due to shipping issues, which has resulted in shifting resources to the upcoming Easter holiday. Halloween has scaled back production to just one shift and no overtime, but will need to double up beginning April 13 in order to reach Q2 production numbers.

To that end, all Easter departmental leave is canceled through June, and Easter personnel will need to work second and third shifts to help shore up production. During that time, we will also divert all 2021 Easter ingredients to Halloween. Our goal is to be back on our regular delivery receivables schedule for both departments August 15.

On a different matter, we were especially pleased to receive clearance from New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are considered essential workers. I know both departments are having a tough go of it this year, but please make an extra special effort to visit the homes in New Zealand. Prime Minister Ardern's announcement convinced other world governments that our work was essential and should continue without interruption.

Also, Tooth Fairies, please be aware that the standard rate for one (1) child's tooth is $1.00 USD, or its equivalent in local currency. I realize some parents may go overboard and leave their child $5.00 before you arrive, but you may not exchange their $5 for your $1. Any fairies who do so will be suspended without pay for two weeks.

Remember, I can see everything.

I've reassigned all Valentine's cherubs to assist with teddy bear placement, as many neighborhoods in both New Zealand and the United States are placing teddy bears in living room windows for parents to take their children on a walking "teddy bear hunt" around their neighborhoods this Easter. As other countries come online for these hunts, we'll recall furloughed and retired workers to assist.

Speaking of repurposing unused inventory, Easter has been repurposing leftover Valentine's Day candy into jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. That said, I am not looking forward to accidentally biting into a cherry cordial jelly bean this year.

(I try to avoid those things in February, and now they're repeating on us this spring. Usually they only "repeat" on me, and in either case, they do not taste any better the second time around.)

Finally, while I'm thinking of cherry cordials, let me remind the Easter candy makers, please make sure you don't accidentally use cherry cordials for chocolate bunnies. The last thing we need is to freak out some little kid who bites off a cherry cordial bunny's ears.

Best regards,

S. Claus, Senior VP of Supply Chain Logistics

Author's note: By my count, this is the 1300th column I have written, meaning I have been writing and publishing the Laughing Stalk newspaper humor column for 25 years on the dot, without missing a deadline. What started out as a one-off essay that made my wife laugh has led to a long career of writing humor and ultimately becoming a professional writer. Thank you to Al and Bill Nich of the Wakarusa Tribune for giving me my start and sticking with me all these years. Thank you to the other editors around Indiana who made it possible for you to read this. And I especially thank all of you readers who have been so supportive.

Photo credit: Lupe02 (, Creative Commons 0)

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