Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers andacquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmasand Hannukah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been inthe works for about 1,300 years, ever since the rise of the Muslim empire.

While details were not available at press time, it is believed that theoverhead cost of having 12 days of Christmas and eightdays of Hannukah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. Bycombining forces, we're told, the world will be able to enjoy consistentlyhigh-quality service during the 15 Days of Christmukah, as the newholiday is being called. Massive layoffs are expected, with lordsa-leaping and maids a-milking being the hardest hit.

As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters onthe dreidel, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thusbecoming unintelligible to a wider audience. Also, instead oftranslating to "A great miracle happened there," the message on the dreidelwill be the more generic "Miraculous stuff happens." In exchange, it isbelieved that Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vastmerchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts. In fact, one of thesticking points holding up the agreement for at least 300 yearswas the question of whether Jewish children could leave milk and cookiesfor Santa even after having eaten meat for dinner. A breakthrough camelast year when Oreos were finally declared to be kosher. All sidesappeared happy about this.

A spokesman for Christmas, Inc., declined to say whether atakeover of Kwanzaa might not be in the works as well. He merelypointed out that, were it not for the independent existence of Kwanzaa, themerger between Christmas and Hannukah might indeed be seen as an unfaircornering of the holiday market. Fortunately for all concerned, he said,Kwanzaa will help to maintain the competitive balance. He then closed thepress conference by leading all present in a rousing rendition of "Oy, ComeAll Ye Faithful."

written by Michael Nathanson{C}

[ As Read on Car Talk ]