ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Chris

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It is that time of the year again when jingle bells (or should that be cash machines) ring loud and all the boys and girls write to you. I remember writing to you, Santa, when I was a wee lad all those years ago. I remember pleading my case on numerous occasions as to why I had been good that year (and not just in the run up to Christmas) and deserved a reward. Do you remember me?

I don’t suppose you do, after all each year you must be inundated with letters from all the boys and girls (do Royal Mail ever offer to lend their services to help?). I always wondered how you managed to read through all the letters; did you have a crack team of quick reading elves (we know they do all the work anyway)? Or do you read through every letter yourself? Then, how do you decide who has been naughty and nice?

I should apologise for overwhelming you with questions but stick with me as I have a final one coming up. You see, Santa, I always had a problem writing to you. Not specifically the writing part, but I always resented having you scrutinise over my behaviour. After all, growing up as a Catholic I already had the weight of hell resting on my shoulders for any discrepancies in my conduct, so having someone else monitor my every move seemed somewhat unfair. In order to correct this fairness, I have to ask you Santa: have you been naughty or nice?

Let us start with your best quality: happiness. There is no doubt that you manage to bring an air of magic to the holiday season. For many kids around the world you are Christmas. You bring the presents, you bring the happiness, you bring the magic (is it secret dust, or just some form of hallucinogen?). I remember the Santa of my childhood Christmases (thanks for the Snes by the way, greatest gift ever!). One year I even believed that I heard your reindeer on the roof. In turned out to be the branches of a tree, a noise I heard many a time, but I was determined to believe in you Santa.

Of course, your ‘magic’ isn’t just down to hallucinogenic substances and elves. Let us not forget that you have sold your image to anyone and everyone around the world; the grottoes, the television adverts…it is endless (almost to the point of suffocating?). Therein lies part of your problem Santa, you have usurped Christmas and the Christmas spirit. You have stolen the Christmas message and turned it into commercialized greed. That Santa is bad, very bad.

Having been brought up as Catholic I am well aware of the roots of Christmas (even if it has been distorted in the Church as well). Christmas is meant to be a time to celebrate, with friends and family. To celebrate the lives we have and the loved ones still around with us. After all, Christ (if scripture is to be believed) gave up his life for us, therefore Christmas should be about us giving back to the world as we celebrate his birth. Not giving each other novelty nodding dogs (although they are funny), or over-priced robotic raptors but giving someone, less fortunate, something they really need.

Santa, by usurping the role of Christ and becoming the symbol of Christmas you have become a false idol and will distort the view of Christmas for many youngsters. My attitude to Christmas has become distorted and you are partly to blame. This Christmas I have just one thing to ask from you. This year I would like you to help bring back to true meaning of Christmas. Give up the lucrative advertising campaigns, give up the movies (especially the ones with Tim Allen in), give up the jet set life style and get back to doing what you do best, just give. After all, if you remain a naughty Santa, we will take your elves.

Yours sincerely,

CB