12 days of christmas: Reindeer Retirement

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the
early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about
whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the
North Pole.

Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance of the season's
gift distribution business.  Home shopping channels and mail order catalogues
have diminished Santa's market share.  He could not sit idly by and permit
further erosion of the profit picture.

The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late
model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip.  Improved productivity from
Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is
anticipated.  Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental
emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed.
Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole.  Management denies,
in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got
that way, not from the cold, but from substance abuse.  Calling Rudolph "a
lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an
unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context
at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole
to continue to look for better, more competitive steps.  Effective
immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve
Days of Christmas" subsidiary:

  - The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be
    cash crop forecasted.  It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant,
    providing considerable savings in maintenance.

  - The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost
    effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be
    condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

  - The three French hens will remain intact.  After all, everyone loves the

  - The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system,
    a call waiting option.  An analysis is underway to determine whom the
    have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

  - The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
    Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative
    implications for institutional investors.  Diversification into other
    precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks
    appear to be in order.

  - The six geese a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be
    It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per
    is an example of the decline in productivity.  Three geese will be let
    and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure
    management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.

  - The seven swans a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times.

    The function is primarily decorative.  Mechanical swans are on order. The

    current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore
    enhance their outplacement.

  - The eight maids a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the
    A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant

    maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of

    the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or

  - Nine Ladies dancing has always been an odd number.  This function will be

    phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the

  - Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill.  The high cost of Lords plus the expense
    international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest
    replacing this group with ten out-of-work Congressmen.  While leaping
    ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because
    expect an oversupply of unemployed Congressmen this year.

  - Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the

    band getting too big.  A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on

    new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down
    the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and
other expenses.  Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching
deliveries over twelve days is inefficient.  If we can drop ship in one day,
service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys' association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers a-suing") action is

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in
the future to stay competitive.  Should that happen, the Board will request
management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is
the right number.