What Santa wants for Christ­mas

A very spe­cial let­ter flut­ters in from the North Pole to let us in on what re­ally mat­ters

Herald on Sunday - - EDITORIAL - Paul Lit­tle [email protected]­tle

Ob­vi­ously, I think you should be nice not naughty. But why would I worry about kids be­hav­ing badly in a world where so many adults be­have so much worse?

This is a strange time for me. I’m nearly fin­ished my work for the year but my real job be­gins in a cou­ple of weeks. It’s the calm be­fore the storm — or Don­ner and Bl­itzen — if you will. All the hard slog is over, and there are just a few de­tails left to be sorted out, in­volv­ing flight paths and an­swer­ing the late mail.

But it’s oc­curred to me that af­ter all the years of en­joy­ing your let­ters, I should re­turn the favour and drop you a line to let you know what I’d like for Christ­mas. Don’t worry — it’s noth­ing ter­ri­bly ex­pen­sive.

Nat­u­rally, I’ve made a list.

Firstly, I know peo­ple think they’re bor­ing but stock­ings al­ways come in handy — some­one in­evitably for­gets to leave one out for me and I go through my spare ones very quickly. No sin­gle-use stock­ings, of course.

Se­condly, I’d re­ally like you to have a se­ri­ous word to your mums and dads about me. There seems to have been some mis­un­der­stand­ing lately about who I am, with peo­ple get­ting very upset if I don’t look a cer­tain way. As you can imag­ine, this feels a bit strange for me be­cause I thought ev­ery­one un­der­stood I am a fic­tional char­ac­ter. So, it re­ally doesn’t mat­ter how I dress or what I look like or if I’m male or fe­male or any­thing else.

I’d also like to be more than the on­cea-year guy. I know a lot of Christ­mas is ex­haust­ing and, be­lieve me, you’re not the only one who strug­gles to get through the whole thing with­out a few tears and at least one melt­down. But the things I re­ally like about Christ­mas aren’t stress­ful.

I know peo­ple can find fam­i­lies hard work at this time of year, but there’s an eas­ily fixed rea­son for that. It’s be­cause it’s the one time they force them­selves to spend time to­gether. If they hung out a lit­tle more reg­u­larly, there wouldn’t be so much pres­sure on that one day to be per­fect.

Tell you what I don’t want any more of — the whole naughty and nice thing. I’ve no idea where that came from and it just seems to have got com­pletely out of hand. Ob­vi­ously, I think you should be nice not naughty. But why would I worry about kids be­hav­ing badly in a world where so many adults be­have so much worse?

Peo­ple some­times ask me why I spend most of my time with elves and chil­dren. Well, the elves are a total crack-up, you know. And I pre­fer chil­dren be­cause adults are so com­pli­cated that I have trou­ble mak­ing any sort of sense out of them.

But I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Be­ing Santa is a pretty sweet deal. Any­one can do the im­por­tant bits: any­one can be kind, gen­er­ous, thought­ful or even jolly.

Ba­si­cally — and it re­ally is very ba­sic — I’d just like peo­ple to be nice to each other. All the time, not just in or­der to get a present.

Some of you may think all this doesn’t mat­ter. That maybe you don’t need Santa in your world. Maybe you don’t. But, you know that per­son who said it’s bet­ter to give than re­ceive? Take it from me — he was right on the money.

So if you think the fact I don’t re­ally ex­ist means I don’t mat­ter, think again. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

I might be fic­tional, but I’m 100 per cent real.

I know you’re not sup­posed to be­lieve in me past a cer­tain age, but I think the world would be a bet­ter place if peo­ple never stopped.

Photo / Michael Craig

The an­nual Santa Run hrough Wyn­yard Quar­ter, Auck­land, on Wed­nes­day.

Photo / 123RF

Be nice, not naughty.

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