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Santa Smoking Removed From Iconic Poem After Several Decades, Wording Changed To Protect Kids

santa smoking 2012

Santa smoking may be an iconic image of the holidays in many depictions, but in 2012, Father Christmas may be giving up the habit following outcry from an anti-smoking publisher.

An image of Santa smoking may almost look anachronistic in this day and age when smoking is about the most evil thing anyone can do in media, which is why it’s almost shocking that it got this far until the depiction of him puffing a pipe was 86’d to better influence kids who may be inspired to take up the habit.

The Santa smoking censorship involves the iconic poem most recognizable by its first line, “’twas the night before Christmas …” But the actual title of the writing is “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” and an anti-smoking advocate has revised the classic to remove all references to smoking from the piece.

Pamela McColl says she “just really [doesn’t] think Santa should be smoking in the 21st century,” and the advocate who has worked to remove smoking from several films elaborates:

“Santa is the most powerful character in the world … I thought this was a great project … The omission of these few words do not change the material intent of the author nor do they infringe on the reader’s understanding or enjoyment of this historically-rich story, but by removing these words we may save lives and avoid influencing new smokers.”

Indeed, and who among us can’t say that images of Santa smoking didn’t inspire us to light up once we were old enough to test-drive the dangerous habit? And don’t even get me started on what we may or may not have seen him doing with mommy under the Christmas tree last night. Absolutely scandalized.

Secret Santa behind Christmas tree

(And come to think of it, what exactly is Santa smoking anyway? Could that be the reason he’s always looking for cookies?)

While many of today’s helicopter parents may agree with the decision to make Santa stop smoking, a few rogue groups of hellions, such as the American Library Association, called the changes “an act of censorship that denies the audience access to the author’s authentic voice.” But really, what kind of parent trusts a librarian with kids best interests?

The National Coalition Against Censorship also commented, noting that “putting children in an insulation bubble, hoping to protect them from anything their parents may deem harmful, is not only impossible, it is unproductive.”‘

Do you agree it’s right to alter history and delete images of Santa smoking, or has fear of kids witnessing small adult transgressions gone too far?

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42 Responses to “Santa Smoking Removed From Iconic Poem After Several Decades, Wording Changed To Protect Kids”

  1. Steve Dronzewski

    Leave Santa alone! If your going to change things that are dangerous in this story you should also change all the dangerous stories in the Bible. They are equally fictional.

  2. Bill Lowe

    This article refers to the poem, "A visit from St. Nick", not the coke ad! And changing it is pure PC bullshit

  3. Anonymous

    I have been smoking for 65 yeas straight… I am 75. Santa is a myth and smoking is a dangerous habit to quire. I have since been able to quit using today's e-cigs… its pharmaceutical grade nicotine vapor allowing me to smoke in leisure anywhere I want without all the smoke, burning holes in furniture, clothes and upholstery. No more matches or lighters or fluid to fuel them, no more ashtrays and I have been using e-cigs now for over 6 months without craving for a tobacco product. So, I say, if you gotta habit, go e-cig. If you don't, never start! Good luck and God bless you. I am a great grampa 6 times over.

  4. Steve Sauerhafer

    Wait a minute Santa's fictional? If I saw this photo before I was 15, I would have started earlier. Wait a min. is that a cig? LOL

  5. Brad Armstrong

    Does she have the right to materially change anouther authors work and still say it is by that author? than say the changes were by Santa? I am a professional Santa, I don't smoke, I hate it and I don't drink but leave art alone, shall we put clothes on statuary now? how long before Santa Hs to be 150 lbs because some vegiterian Nazi says he should be? what gives the right to say what Santa should and ahould not do? I agree that Santa should not be used in any smoking ads but this is wrong.

  6. Howard S. Bell

    this is the silliest thing I've heard in a while. I think since we shouldn't have Santa Smoke, we should also remove all stories in any books about the treatment of Black people as slaves, since that was wrong and it probably promotes racism.

  7. Jimi Drufovka

    agreed….kids should still recite the the pledge to the flag of the us…..but it says "god" in it….?? id rather change the wording than ban the concept….shit just replace it with "people"….right?

  8. Jimi Drufovka

    … nation for its people….with liberty and justice for all….?

  9. Virginia P Woolf

    Santa line" The stump pipe he held in his teeth and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath". That was the best pictures in the book because as a small child it looked so cool that Santa could make wreaths from his breath. The magical Santa could do things that I could not. The ashes and soot line will be next because Santa was a pollution lover. Come on next you know every book will be subject to removal of words because it might offend someone. LEAVE SANTA ALONE.

  10. Kim LaCapria

    Like when they wanted to whitewash Huck Finn. Why not just go all the way and erase uncomfortable chapters from history books?

  11. Matthew Gomez De Segura

    What a joke! Kids don't start smoking because they read that poem or see Santa with a pipe. That can easily become a learning experience and teach your children that smoking is bad if they bring it up…I read that as a child and I never thought about smoking. Censorship is becoming over the top.

  12. Cynthia Byers Yates

    LEAVE SANTA ALONE! Next thing you know he will be accountable for cruelty to animals due to the reindeer, and chid labor laws due to the elves. I mean really? Come on you self absorbed people who think you should tell us what we can an cant do. Communist asses

  13. Carrie Wilder

    it's the Liberals! They love attacking whatever they find even slightly offensive, and I HATE smoking! Never done it and never will advocate it, but come on, Santa and a pipe is a classic! LEAVE IT ALONE FRIGGIN LIBS!!!!

  14. James C Frazier

    I never thought of or ever heard of someone wanting to smoke just because Santa did. You people, and yes I did say You people, have nothing better to do but change things that never did any harm. If you want to do something helpful, allow kids to get a spanking now and then. Have you seen the young kids now not giving any respect to anyone just because they know you can't do anything to hurt them.

  15. Laura Adkins


  16. Mark Townes

    Yep, it's all the fault of liberals. Any more brilliant thoughts, or is that your stock reaction to anything you disagree with?

  17. Ernest W. Adams

    Any kid who can read Victorian prose is smart enough to know that times were different then. Actually, A Visit from St. Nicholas is Victorian verse, so it's the same deal.

  18. Tim Stellmach

    What's this "they" stuff? I have been given no reason to believe that "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is in any real danger from Pamela McColl's bowdlerized version.

  19. Jeremy Howard

    Wasn't Sherlock also addicted to opium? You never hear about that anymore.

  20. Ernest W. Adams

    No opium. He injected cocaine from time to time, in a 7% (fairly weak) solution. There was never any suggestion that he was an addict (it didn't hurt his work or family), but Dr. Watson didn't like it and got him off it.

    Holmes PRETENDED to be an opium addict in one of the stories — Watson discovered him doing undercover surveillance in an opium den in "The Man with the Twisted Lip."

  21. Jeremy Howard

    My bad. Thank you for the correction. That explains the 7%. Always happy to learn. :)

  22. Lori Stauffer

    Leave the classics alone! Santa is a timeless icon, and does not need to change with the times. If it makes people uncomfortable, then don't freakin read it! Rip it out of your book, but don't force the entire country to do the same because you think you know what's best for my kid as well as yours!

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