{Originally published December 20, 2012.]

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What I have here between my forefinger and my thumb is not just any prescription strength green and red gel capsule. It is the next generation of mood medication, a key to the portal of infinite jolliness and perpetual merriment. That’s right. I’m pleased to announce to my fellow biopharmacologists, the FDA advisory committee, and seasonally depressed persons everywhere that the battle against the winter blues has been won, and the harbinger of victory is an organically derived compound I call Santax.

Santax is like no other antidepressant on the market today. Whereas medications like Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro rely on complex chemical reactions that inhibit the reuptake of certain naturally occurring neurochemicals, Santax relies on the simple and effective catalyst that is Christmas cheer. You heard me right: Christmas cheer.

Just what is Christmas cheer? It is the pure and innocent faith of a million little children. It is the compassion that motivates every Good Samaritan. It is a jovial family seated around a dining room table, upon which sits a succulent brown bird accompanied by roasted chestnuts, mashed potatoes and sweet plum pudding. Or to be more direct, it is the resulting granular residue scraped from the inside of a centrifuged test tube that contains a combination of blood and random organic tissues derived from none other than Saint Nicholas himself.

Allow me to explain.

If I may direct your attention to the slowly descending projection screen, you will see a slide of the North Pole. As you can see, it is a cold and uninhabitable tundra that is blanketed in total darkness for six months of the year. Imagine living in this desolate zone, where gusts of wind whip shards of ice into tornadic flurries that can cut through even the most blubbery of blubber. It is an environment that crushes the most jovial of spirits like grist under a mill’s mighty wheel.

But take a closer look, specifically in this section I am highlighting with my laser pointer, and you will see a light, a veritable beacon of hope, which shines in spite of the deathly terrain. This warm, luminescent glow is Santa’s workshop, and it was here that my team of globetrotting pharmacologist adventurers found our Holy Grail of happiness.

As you can see in this next slide, Saint Nick himself unwittingly sits next to a warm fire, his chubby cheeks taught from the ever-present smile upon his face as he gazes out on his team of elves who toil away in mindless bliss. Despite the hard labor, despite the assembly line setting, despite the aforementioned bone-chilling void that engulfs the workshop like a faceless and frigid Leviathan, they smile. They all smile. But none smiles as wide as Santa Claus.

With this slide, you’ll see that—despite having to issue two tranquilizer darts—we were successful at subduing Mr. Claus, as evidenced by the motionless velvet-cloaked body lying facedown on the workshop floor. He is encircled by our crew of heavily armed ex-Navy Seals, who we hired for the requisite protection. And thank goodness we did. Those elves took no time transforming from caroling machines into killing machines. Which reminds me, I should mention that this presentation is dedicated to the memory of Commander Rick Slovinski. Rest peacefully, Rick, and know that you were not eaten alive in vain.

Once we got Santa back to our mobile laboratory, we immediately initiated vivisection, as depicted here. It was important to conduct our research while Father Christmas was still alive, since at the time we were unsure whether the source of his constant good cheer was perhaps contingent upon the neuroactivity of his central nervous system or the oxidation of his bloodstream. As we came to find out, keeping him alive as we made the incisions into his chest cavity and down through his abdomen was unnecessary, and the fact that we kept him conscious throughout the duration of the procedure was downright superfluous. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And so, as hypothesized, we were able to derive a unique chemical compound from various parts of Santa’s vital organs that, when run through a series of rigorous clinical trials, elevated subjects’ happiness quotients anywhere from joyful to completely overjoyed.

As with all medications, there are some unforeseen side effects, including sudden weight gain, hirsutism, and a compulsive urge to fulfill wishes. But I’m sure we all can agree that these rare secondary effects are but a small price to pay for everlasting piece of mind and inner peace.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Santax will initially be available by prescription only, but we’re hoping to have an over-the-counter formula ready in time for next December. I would suggest you put it on your Christmas list, but you’ll probably get a more prompt response if you consult your doctor instead.