As the evenings draw in and the temperature slowly slides down the thermometer, thoughts turn to log fires, a comforting glass of one’s favourite tipple, a loving pet snuggled against you (okay, you can make that whoever or whatever), the dulcet tones of distant carol singers and a merry “Ho, ho, ho … as an overweight Father Christmas gets stuck halfway down the chimney.
Well, that’s the idyllic picture, but I’m afraid current events are having an adverse effect on our reverie. It appears that Father Christmas, and by Father Christmas I mean both the real Santa Claus and all those rotund part-timers who don red trouser suits and white beards during the festive season to help him out, are finding it difficult to get a job. Whyı Well might you ask…
In a recent article in The Times, I discovered to my dismay that mothers and fathers around the world are thinking more than twice about letting their offsprings go into the Christmas grotto in their favourite department store to sit on Santa’s knee and receive their present for fear that the gift may be more of a physical fumble than a train set or a Barbie doll. I suppose that a certain amount of doubt and worry is normal in this crazy old world, but parents are taking this anxiety to dramatic proportions, so much so that this new dread of Santa has been given a name: Claustraphobia.
To condemn the entire planet’s stock of Santas seems somewhat hasty given that most of us – which includes quite a few children – still believe in Santa Claus. What will happen to all the letters we’ve already written to Santa c/o the North Pole asking for a new plaything such as a beautiful blonde or a blazing blunderbussı And who will deliver the millions of presents and place them under the Christmas tree if Santa Claus isn’t available. And if he isn’t available what effect will that have on the all-important period of pre-Christmas watch salesı We know the symptoms, but what, friends, is the remedyı I have a feeling that Claustraphobia may well be a cause for chaos.
I suppose Christmas could be cancelled this year, but would that help Santa and all the part-time Santas would be up in arms and I can think of nothing worse than a whole host of white bearded, black-booted Santas rampaging through the town kicking children and smashing up toyshops. It certainly won’t stop there either, the unemployment office certainly won’t offer the thousands of unemployed and unemployable Santas a Christmas bonus if the event is cancelled. Governments may well be called upon to resolve the crisis, but knowing the speed with which they work all we’ll get is much political huffing and puffing that will merely result in an indefinite Santa pause.
So what does the future holdı First of all we must learn to live with the idea that Santa is not for seeing and then, sadly, re-educate people and perpetrate the idea that Santa Claus is merely a myth. The once practising Santas will be obliged to chant a new mantra: “I don’t believe in myself.”
I know there are already quite a few sceptics out there such as the now mature child star Shirley Temple, who said that she stopped believing in Santa Claus when she was six because when her mother took her to see him in a department store he asked for an autograph. Dick Gregory, a black American comedian, said that he never believed in Santa Claus because he knew no white man would be coming into his neighbourhood after dark. And dear old Groucho Marx, who had something to say on nearly everything claimed, “I’ve played Santa Claus many times, and if you don't believe it, check out the divorce settlements awarded my wives.”
As far as I’m concerned, I’ll still hang up my ageing sock with the hole in the heel and hope that Santa read my letter for any of François-Paul Journe’s timepieces, the new TAG Heuer’s Carrera, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Gyrotourbillon and Carl F. Bucherer’s Patravi Tonneaugraph!
In the meantime, y’all have a Cool Yule!