Sorry kids, this Christmas is looking bleak.
Not only are shopping mall Santas telling children to curb their expectations amid an economic slump, the David Suzuki Foundation is warning that climate change is threatening to destroy jolly old St. Nick's home.
A new campaign, called Where Will Santa Live?, offers this urgent message: "The North Pole, once a wintery wonderland, is no longer safe for Santa's Workshop. … Santa must relocate – fast – to make sure that all the nice boys and girls still have a Happy Holiday."
The website for the campaign shows a distressed Santa and two reindeer wearing water wings, stranded in deep water at the North Pole. An elf in green tights, with David Suzuki's face, clings to the side of his sleigh.
The vision of Santa's home on the verge of being swallowed by fast-melting ice would be enough to give young children nightmares. But the campaign says there are steps people can take to help. Donors can purchase e-cards bearing images of reindeer in water wings, a sad-looking snowman stuck on an iceberg, or Santa in a Dri-Fit suit. It notes the proceeds will help the foundation develop a clean, renewable energy plan for Canada and provide resources to the public on how to go carbon neutral.
"We hope you'll forgive us for having some fun with a beloved holiday figure. But climate change is no laughing matter," the website says.
It's a serious matter, indeed, which is why not everyone thinks Santa and climate change mix.
A Calgary Herald column, with the headline Ho, Ho, Hold Up Using Santa As Climate Change Victim, likens the campaign to "manipulation of childhood images to sell a corporate message."
This isn't the first time Santa has been used to highlight serious issues. Advocates against obesity have long said the pot-bellied Father Christmas sets a bad example, with his cookies-and-milk diet.
Should Santa be used to raise awareness for less-than-jolly issues?