Father Christmas

December 1999
Materials:  ink, paper, irreverance

The Christmas card that Deborah and I sent out in 1999. As you might gather, I have a fondness for the Alice books.


The artwork is inspired by two Tenniel illustrations: the girl is taken from Alice looking at the Cheshire Cat, and Santa is based on the King of Hearts at Alice's trial.

Here's the poem I composed for the inside of the card, slightly edited from its original version:

Father Christmas
(or, the Old Man's Presents and How He Makes 'Em)
with apologies to Lewis Carroll
(who also stole his version, by the way)
((not that there's anything wrong with that))
“You are old, Father Christmas,” the little girl said,
    “And of toys you've an ample supply,
Yet the world population has upwardly sped—
    By what means is production kept high?”

“In my youth,” father Nicholas said to the child,
    “I had thousands of elves at the gears,
But the wages were low and they called for a strike—
    Now I order from Macy's and Sears.”

“You are old, Mister Claus, as I've mentioned to you,
    And your body's uncommonly fat,
Yet you enter each cottage by way of the flue...
    Pray, what deviltry fits you through that?”

“In my youth,” said the Kringle, “the chimneys were wide
    But to-day hardly any remain!
So I carry these lockpicks to get me inside
    And I find they're much less of a pain.”

“You are kind,” said the lass, “With so many to please,
    That your sled must weigh nearly a ton,
Yet you fly through the air with the greatest of ease—
    By what manner of charm is this done?”

“In my youth,” said the Elf, “I concocted a brew
    That my reindeer were frequently fed,
But the Animal Lobby all threatened to sue—
    Now I fly on United instead.”

“You are old,” said the girl, “and I hasten to say
    That you don't seem remarkably quick.
Yet I've seen you on seventy sidewalks today...
    Oh, how do you explain it, Saint Nick?”

“Enough of your questions! I’ll answer but three,”
    Yelled the Saint, “How you vex me, my dear!
Now, your picture's been taken: get down off my knee
    and BE GONE—or no presents this year.”