Thirteen days from now we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. The tradition in our home is to begin that day by reading aloud the story of His birth from the second chapter of The Gospel According to Luke, for that presents the genuine meaning of Christmas.
Nevertheless, it is sometimes permitted to have fun with the secular mythology that has built up around the Holy Day. So it is in that spirit that I present the verbatim NSA wiretapping of a conversation between Santa Claus (S) and Mrs. Santa (M), which NSA has solemnly filed under the heading of "Christmas Pun-ishment."
S: Well, Honey, it looks like the calendar has this Christmas treed.
M: A bad pun like that makes me pine for a better one.
S: You're needling me again.
M: That's because you talk like a sapling. But Christmas is getting close. Do you have all your gifts planned?
S: (scratching head) I've had some ideas, but I haven't written anything down.
M: I thought you looked kind of listless. (Pause.) But tell me some of your ideas.
S: One corner of my workshop is designated a football corner. Have you seen it?
M: It has some strange things in it, but the strangest is that paper with writing on it. What's that?
S: It's a diet for that guy Pay Ton Manning. If he weighs that much, he needs to lose weight.
M: You've got it wrong, Santa. The name Pay Ton refers to his paycheck.
S: Maybe I should give him a wheelbarrow to carry the money.
M: A pickup truck would be more like it. But that corner also had a case of Jack Daniels. Who's that for?
S: The Tennessee Titans. You can't be a Titan without something to get tight on.
M: Very considerate of you. But what about the rope ladder you had made?
S: I'm giving that to the New Orleans coach. His Saints aren't having too good a year. After Christmas, his team can be called the ladder-day saints. (Pause.) But I don't know what to give some people--like that couple in Houston who plan to get married on Christmas day.
M: No problem, Santa. We're giving them two brooms.
S: Two brooms? Why is that?
M: So that after they're married they can sweep together.
S: That one swept me off my feet. I guess you saw the piano I'm giving to that musician in Austin
M: He doesn't need a piano. He already has a Steinway.
S: Yes, but last year, he lost all his hair. Now he has to play a Baldwyn.
M: That gift is bare of all merit. Have you made any headway on getting ready for your trip, like preparing the reindeer?
S: They're all ready except Rudolph. I can't stand his wisecracks. Every year when I put the harness on him, he says, "Oh, Santa. You sleigh me!'"
M: He'll pay through the nose for that.
S: I've warned him: if he says it this year, I carve him up into cutlets and serve him for Christmas dinner.
M: He'll know he's playing for high steaks.
S: I thought the idea was well done. But speaking of my flight with the reindeer, I'm worried about the air traffic congestion around Houston International Airport. Oh, I forgot. They've changed the name to Bush International.
M: They've changed it again. Now it's called Houston Intergalactic.
S: That's an ambitious name. How do they justify it?
M: That's easy. The city of Houston has a habit of annexing prosperous areas nearby so they can increase their tax base. They like to plan ahead, so they annexed the Andromeda Galaxy.
S: That ought to get them some revenue by A.D. 3000.
M: But there's one last gift I'm curious about. In one corner of your workshop, I saw switches and ashes. Who gets those?
S: They're for a fellow named Taylor down somewhere in the Texas woods. Lately he's changed from serious writing into trying to write comedy. When you make a dumb switch like that, you're bound to make an ash out of yourself.
And a Merry Christmas to all!