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Economic Downturn Provokes Xmas Downsize

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 was necessary
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 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 the 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 French;

 - The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice
     mail system, with a call waiting option.  An analysis is
     underway to determine who the birds 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 afforded. It has long been felt that the
     production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example
     of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and
     an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure
     management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good

 - 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;

 - As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under
     heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. 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 steps;

 - Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill.  The high cost of Lords plus
     the expense of 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 we 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 to 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 attorney's 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.

 Happy Holidays!

 S. Claus, CEO

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Last updated: December 11, 1997; counter added December 11, 1997

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