NORTH POLE:  A spokes-elf for Mr. Claus announced today that Christmas is cancelled due to overpopulation. 

“We’re awfully sorry, kids, but it’s just impossible,” Louie the Spokes-elf said.  “Despite the huge disappointment we’re causing for the world’s children, I’m afraid there just isn’t any way around it.  With the number of people in the world it’s impossible for the Big Guy to load all the presents into his sleigh.”

For years there have been reports from way up north that the huge number of children in the world was straining on Santa’s resources.  His toy factory has had to get bigger and more efficient every year to keep up with demand.  This has lead to a significant Arctic Urban Sprawl as more and more elves were needed to keep the toy output at record high levels.  The air quality of the Arctic has simultaneously gotten worse, but the toys have been made and put on the sled on time, year after year.

Last year Santa took more time to complete his rounds than ever before, given the increased number of stops he had to make and the increased security measures in place at so many residences (metal detectors, strip searches, etc.).  The sun was starting to peek over the horizon by the time the last towns were delivered.  In response, Santa has contracted Google Maps to re-plan his route and allow him to make up time he had been wasting.  The good folks at Google predict that they will be able to get Santa home on time through at least 2015, given projected population growth.

The real problem in 2004 was the wear and tear on the reindeer.  Comet pulled a hammy trying to get the sled up into the air initially, and it took three Cortisone shots to get him back in the game.  Prancer threw a shoe on his first landing and was never quite the same the rest of the night.  And, worst of all, Blitzen got a double hernia and required surgery and three months convalescence after the big night.  To respond to this, all the reindeer have been working out with personal trainers for twelve months, their diets have included more protein and anabolic steroids, and two new reindeer (Tank and Frank) have been added.  These 10 reindeer should be able to fly Santa around the world without excessive physical strain.

Everything was looking so promising this year; that’s why the elf’s announcement came as such a shock.  The engineers on Santa’s staff were doing an analysis of the sleigh and realized that its tailgate just can’t take the weight of all this year’s presents.  Apparently, the stronger than expected demand for the Xbox 360, which is a heavy toy, caused previous estimates to be far too hopeful.  The only choices were to either leave some children out, make two trips, or cancel this year’s run and put all resources into building a larger, stronger, better sleigh for next year.  As previously mentioned, the last option was selected.  Hopefully, next year Santa’s sleigh will be up to the challenge of the historic number of children in the world. 

Or, of course, the world could learn to control its population.  That would solve the problem, too, wouldn’t it?