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 appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole 
  no longer dominates the season's gift distribution business.  Home 
  shopping channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's 
  market share, and 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 and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of 
  service.  Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental 
  emissions for which the North Pole has been cited and received 
  unfavorable press.
  I am pleased to inform you and yours 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 
  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 
  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 
  appears to be in order.
  The six geese-a-laying constitute 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 one.
  The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. 
  Their 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 a-mulching. 
  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 
  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.
  Action is pending regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys' 
  association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen 
  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!