Christmas 2020

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Christmas 2020 will be a Christmas like no other. Come with me for a visit to Santa’s household in lockdown. With toys and supplies increasingly hard to come by, cranky, bored elves are playing mean little tricks on each other. Imagine the indignant howls … ‘He started it!’ ‘Ouch! Stop pulling my hair!’ Then there are the taunts and insults of disaffected helpers and the predictable responses. ‘YOUR ears are pointy!’ ‘Give me back that vest!’ And the usually genial Santa having to arbitrate. ’Now Gandalf. Leave Thimble alone! Chrystal, stop shredding the tinsel!’ ‘Felicity, have you looked at your own ears lately?’ ‘Bobbit … that wood is for toy trains … do NOT make me come over there!’ As for the reindeer, they too are without purpose, restless and bored. Donner has never been more doleful and depressed. Blitzen has become belligerent and baleful.

And Rudolph has been listlessly sobbing for weeks and complaining about the other reindeers. HIs nose? Bright red of course. With the COVID curfew in place, there have been no test runs of the sleigh to look forward to, and frankly who can be bothered with reindeer games? The barn smells. There’s precious little hay and I’m afraid it’s become pretty unsanitary in there. Santa is not his normal cheery self. Idle hands you know. He’s smoking too much (a pipe of course) and getting stuck into the Christmas plonk every evening.

And as if the fat man wasn’t already a prime candidate for a cardiac event, he’s been pigging out on Christmas pudding like there’s no tomorrow. Santa’s considerable and growing girth is straining his red suit to buttonpopping. Santa’s wife, Mary has already had to let the seams out twice. She’s at breaking point. Maddeningly cheerful carols have been playing relentlessly on the Spotify app for months in the normally busy workshop with no Christmas chores to break the monotony. She’s nagging Santa more than usual. ‘ God, Claus why don’t you DO something for heaven’s sake!’ ‘Why don’t you use this time … to … get fit/ fix the lathe/ bake some sourdough bread!’ We all know how the virus has wreaked havoc on the mail systems around the world.

Letters from children to the North Pole have been sporadic to say the least and Santa’s become totally uninterested in answering them, especially after he’s had a few too many egg nogs. His usual affability has deserted him. His hitherto positive prism no longer in place, he views what meagre letters from kiddies that trickle in to his mailbox as grasping and downright demanding. His growing cynicism plus the drinking is worrisome.

‘Lishen to thish one Mary … “I’ve been good and could I please have a doll’s house?” Sheesh. Does she think I can just flick my clingers and come up with a hollsdouse?’ You think things are bad in your neck of the woods? Spare a thought for Santa and all his helpers at the North Pole. So let’s all be kind to each other this Christmas. We deserve it.