Public health authorities this morning have announced that Santa Claus, beloved semi-anonymous benefactor of millions of children, has fallen ill. Epidemiologists are focusing on milk left at room temperature and cookies left by children who failed to wash their hands as the likely culprits.
Mrs. Claus, reached via satellite phone at the North Pole, said, “I’ve been warning [Santa] for years not to eat all of the cookies and drink all of the milk left for him by all of the children all over the world, but he enjoys those treats so much, he just won’t listen to me.”
Santa, a rotund man of indeterminate age, may have been more susceptible to the pathogens as a result of being elderly and sleep-deprived. While December has always been a tough month for the jolly old elf, sources report that the past decade has been particularly tough. One elf, who spoke with reporters under the condition that he not be named said, “Kids today want much more than they used to. Whereas we used to be able to satisfy most demands via woodworking and occasional metallurgy, the modern child wants electronics. So we elves have been working around the clock for most of the year to fill orders for MP-3 players, cell phones, and the ilk. Santa’s been putting in his share of hours, too. I don’t know if he’s slept twelve hours over the past three weeks. I know I haven’t.”
Anita Andomyorussa, MD, the doctor overseeing Santa’s care, is quick to assure parents and children that leaving treats for Santa is still a goood thing to do, and that Santa highly prefers homemade cookies over store-bought. “Santa loves the care and attention that go into making Christmas cookies,” she said, “and from a gustatory standpoint he prefers cookies made with butter over those made with margarine. However,” she continued, “I highly advise that children wash their hands before putting out any treats for Santa. Also, as children’s bedtimes usually fall well before Santa arrives at people’s houses, it’s best if any milk left for Mr. Claus is cooled in a bowl of ice so that it stays within the safe holding range of under 45 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Santa, who is recuperating in an undisclosed location due to fears that revealing his whereabouts will unleash a flood of paparazzi and pilgrims upon the understaffed hospital that is overseeing Mr. Claus’s medical treatment, is said to have a good prognosis and is expected to fully recover.