During this Christmas season, who is more loved and revered than Santa Claus himself? Saint Nick in his striking red outfit with his white flowing beard is everywhere, at holiday strolls, in TV commercials and shopping malls.

Kids flock to him, nervously waiting their turns to sit on his lap and share their gift desires. All agree he is a good guy, a friend and a jolly good fellow. But from a legal perspective, is there more here than meets the eye? Is Santa the role model we all think him to be? With his big day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to take a humorous look at what crimes Santa may be unknowingly committing.

Invasion of privacy. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. He’s watching you 24/7. Talk about an invasion of your privacy.

Workplace and labor law violations. A handful of elves making presents for the whole world? Are the elves unionized? Do they have health benefits, a contract, a pension plan? Does Santa provide a safe work environment with minimum wages and coffee breaks. I’m not sure if the Department of Labor and Training and OSHA have jurisdiction at the North Pole.

Cruelty to animals. This is an obvious one. Those nine reindeer have quite the job, hauling their jelly-bellied boss and heavy sleigh packed with gifts for a billion children around the world, all in one night. And I thought the elves had a tough job.

Speeding and reckless driving. I can’t imagine Santa making it to every home in the world on Christmas Eve without breaking the speed limit a time or two. And while I’m sure he is a safe driver, his sleigh does end up on the roof quite a bit.

Trespassing and breaking and entering. While Santa is invited to most houses, does he really need to sneak in down the chimney under the cover of darkness? I’ve never trusted someone who feels the need to slip in down my chimney. Walking in through the front door would seem the more obvious, and legally appropriate, choice.

Larceny. Santa works really hard this one night a year. Don’t tell me the big guy doesn’t swipe an extra cookie or two and some more milk. He may even drink from the carton. It is the middle of the night after all.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress. Some kids wake up to find a hunk of coal in their stockings. I would think that would be enough to emotionally scar them for life.

All kidding aside, Christmas is a time for love and forgiveness, celebrating with family and friends and good will to our neighbors. During this pandemic, now more than ever, it is a time to reflect on our blessings, be generous and to give rather than receive. As Roy L. Smith so rightly said, he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.

Marc Page is an attorney with a general law practice in Downtown Westerly. He is admitted in Rhode Island and Connecticut and can be reached at 401-596-1726.

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