McDonald's, a machine for turning cow fat into money, is really into America, Christmas, Kwanzaa, holidays, whatever the fuck, assuming those holidays are celebrated at a McDonald's restaurant, or sitting in a parked car in a McDonald's parking lot, forcing down McDonald's food as tears stream down your face. All you have to do is to look at McDonald's advertisements to realize that McDonald's has the utmost respect for family, togetherness, happiness, America, freedom, blah blah buy some french fries. McDonald's would open a location at your mother's funeral if it thought it could sell one additional Filet-O-Fish.

Now, McDonald's burger economists have managed to calculate the exact monetary value of Christmas spirit: $5,500. That is how much Ronald McDonald charges to put a hit on Santa Claus. It's all right here in this remarkably depressing Ad Age story about the company's push to encourage franchisees to stay open on Christmas day:

"Starting with Thanksgiving, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays," reads the Nov. 8 memo from McDonald's USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Johannesen. "Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day. Last year, [company-operated] restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales."

This is all quite clearly presented as a strategy for McDonald's Corp. to eke out an extra percentage point or two of sales growth in the quarter—not even long-term sales growth, but one time, one quarter sales growth. Maybe buy the executives a tiny bit of breathing room on Wall Street. Maybe goose the stock a few quarters of a point, for a few weeks. McDonald's has traditionally always closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas; savvy fast food executives don't call that a tradition, they call it an opportunity. Santa is known to carry up to fifty five hundred bucks in that big old sack on his sleigh, and Ronald McDonald is taking that shit. For the good of the shareholders. Killing Santa is practically a fiduciary duty.

The story notes that McDonald's employees who volunteer to work on Christmas will not be paid overtime.

[Ad Age. Photo: Edward Kimmel/ Flickr]