Here we go again... political correctness at it's finest and this time the target is Santa, or more specifically, Santa's pipe. Pamela McColl of Vancouver, Canada has published a new version of "Twas the Night before Christmas' where Santa loses the pipe and pipe tobacco. McColl is an anti-smoking activist who mortgaged her home and spent $200,000 of her own money to get this new version of the story published. The lines that McColl removed from her version are: "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth - And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath." McColl even added a letter from Santa on the jacket flap that proclaims he has kicked the dirty habit.

I certainly understand her message to children about not smoking, whether it be a pipe, cigarette or anything else for that matter - but why is the target Santa? This happens with movies and television shows as well, where mostly fictional characters, (except for Santa of course), are held up as an example of why this is a bad message for kids.

My question is, why aren't the parents or close relatives of these kids targeted in these campaigns? By the way, if you are a parent and smoke where your children can see you - that's fine - you have the freedom to make that choice. Parents are the ones who set the tone for the children. The anti-smoking establishment will tell you that kids look up to some of these characters and little kids really look up to Santa so, those people have to be held to a higher standard... what? More than the actual people in their lives?

Excuse me, but don't kids also look up to their parents, older siblings and other immediate relatives? Aren't kids more prone to imitating behavior they see at home as opposed to a story book? As parents we do have a responsibility to set as good an example for our children as we can, but we are also not perfect and we will make mistakes and the occasional bad choice. But to change a literary classic because of a pipe... are you kidding me?

There is mixed reaction to the new version of the classic story, with pediatricians and child advocates supporting McColl's new version. The American Library Association on the other hand, says it's censorship and needs to stay in its original version.

How many other pieces of literature should now be changed so we don't run the risk of promoting bad or dangerous behavior? Snow White lived with seven men for crying out loud... anybody have issues with that? Peter Pan lived in a world where adults and rules were not allowed and everyone seems OK with that, right? These stories aren't meant to harm, they are meant to capture a child's imagination, nothing more. What do you think... are we going too far? You decide.