NORTH POLE (AP) – Workshop tycoon Santa K. Claus has begun the arduous process of replacing his nine deceased reindeer with Chinese panda bears, months ahead of his next scheduled voyage around the globe.

Blitzen, Comet, Dancer, and others were tragically struck and killed by a single lightning bolt while visiting family in Norway.

“When a member of our North Pole family dies, we all feel it deeply,” said Claus’ wife, Missus. “Now get your little ass back into the shop and continue hammering away at those wooden trains that no child has wanted since the 1940s.”

The pandas are proving to be a challenge for even Claus’ top reindeer trainers, because they’re dumb, slow, cannot fly, and require union breaks every six minutes to sit and gnaw on bamboo with a big dumb look on their faces that just make you want to hug them. Santa apologizes in advance if zero children on the planet receive toys this Christmas.

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