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Rudolph's holiday message

Dear Friends: As if being stuck with this bulbous red nose and being the constant butt of jokes isn't punishment enough, I drew the short straw and got stuck writing the Christmas letter on behalf of the reindeer this year.

Actually, it's been a pretty eventful year up here at the North Pole.

Vixen did a lot of reading and hitched herself to the global warming bandwagon. She was so sure the North Pole was going to become a tropical vacation destination that she ordered a swimsuit. It was the first one ever delivered to the North Pole.

There was an unfamiliar slush on the streets about a month ago. Even the deniers thought it was global warming, but it turned out prankster elves had dumped a truckload of Ice Melt. Of course, Vixen didn't know that. She got all excited, put on her swimsuit, slathered Scandinavian Sunblock SPF 60 all over her thick hairy hide, threw herself in one of those webbed lawn chairs -- and developed some wicked pneumonia.

If deliveries seemed slow last year, it was due to extra weight at the back of the line. Donner had bariatric surgery this spring with great results. He's down to 360 pounds and enjoys pilates.

In May, Dancer flew south to audition for "Dancing With the Stars." She was crushed when they told her they didn't take hoofers. We all thought she was a shoe-in with that tango routine.

Cupid is still a serial dater. Social networking has opened up a plethora of opportunities. He virtually lives on Snowbook, posting inane things like, "Cupid feels alone in the crowd," and "Looking for love." He recently met a nice Caribou from Alaska -- sturdy legs, blonde with a brown tail, working on a grad degree in reindeer studies.

Dasher and Prancer celebrated their silver anniversary this year with a luxury ice cruise through the Nordic countries, featuring Wayne Newton at the piano bar. A few months later Prancer delivered two more calves! That brings them to a total of 52.

They never let anyone forget that their herd has produced 39 Polar Scholars, franchised 27 Deery-Queens and wrote and produced the hit musical "Ice Caps."

Comet's dreams of being the first reindeer to live on the space station were dashed when NASA announced plans to shut down the space shuttle program. He now writes an astrology column for the Polar Express.

Blitzen suffered severe hearing loss last year after pocketing iPods from the toy production line, downloading tunes and cranking the volume. He has terrible ringing in his ears -- a case of tinselitis -- and can't hear when the boss man yells names to prepare for takeoff. Always a pace or two behind the rest, he throws our entire flight pattern out of formation.

As for me, I am weary of all this night work. When I consulted Mr. C about switching to days, he threw his head back and said, "Ho, ho, ho." We'll see whose laughing at this time next year, little big man. Once the 401k bounces back, I'm looking at early retirement, getting an RV, loading up the missus and exploring national parks in the lower 48.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Yours, Rudolph

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