Editor’s comment: December 2020

PUBLISHED: 10:57 23 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:57 23 November 2020

Santa: I'd give these a swerve...

Santa: I'd give these a swerve...


‘Preparations for the big delivery had been fraught to say the least. With most of the elves furloughed, the burden of sourcing sufficient toys had fallen on the big man himself.’

It’s 6.30am on Christmas morning. Santa Claus staggers through the door, slumps down in his chair and tears his bright red mask from his face. His luxurious trademark beard is stained crimson. Those streaks are going to be a bugger to get out.

It’s fair to say that this has been a ‘different’ Christmas. Different and difficult. With air bridges constantly closing as the government chopped and changed its list of ‘safe’ destinations, route planning had been a nightmare. No-one wants to be halfway to Mykonos before having to divert to Munich. Although curfews around the world had helped when it came to flying about unnoticed late at night.

Preparations for the big delivery had been fraught to say the least. With most of the elves furloughed, the burden of sourcing sufficient toys had fallen on the big man himself. If only Argos hadn’t chosen this year to do away with their legendary catalogue, aka the Laminated Book of Dreams.

Then there was the terrifying trial by envelope – millions of wish-list letters liberally contaminated with possibly infectious child spit that had to be opened. The five-gallon barrel of sanitiser only just lasted the course.

Of course the mucky pups had also had their paws all over the plates of mince pies left out for him. Every one scooped into a bin bag and then carted away. Can’t have the ‘miracle’ of Christmas laid bare – although one mischievous dad was overheard telling a small boy that “anything Santa delivers will have to be quarantined for three days before you can open it”.

And then there was the reindeer that had to be washed down every 10 houses. Have you ever tried tackling an angry ruminant with a bottle of Domestos and a wet wipe?

But Santa wasn’t the only one to suffer the consequences of coronavirus. The bottom had fallen out of the mistletoe market for obvious reasons and the manufacturers of catering-size tins of chocolates had found their Christmas staple replaced by gift-wrapped bog roll and sacks of rice. The fairy had been exiled from the top of the tree with a nasty cough and the nation’s supply of Eat Me dates was locked up in containers in a lorry park in Kent. The specially-bred one-legged lockdown turkeys had been a bit of a disaster. And the people of Wales, subject to the most restrictive regime of all and banned from just about everything, had been reduced to sucking the insides out of chocolate liqueurs in search of alcoholic refreshment. But not on a Sunday.

As for the traditional family gathering, the crackers around the table contained government hand-washing missives rather than weak jokes and, as Santa headed home, the rule-of-six enforcement squads were already forming up ready to abseil down the chimney and tazer an extraneous Grandma.

Merry Christmas, one and all!


You learn to tread carefully in this Comment game. Upset cyclists, vegans or environmentalists and you’ll be wearing the social media bruises for weeks. Now I’ve managed to irritate a whole new sector of our readership and it’s one that certainly packs a punch.

Writing in our October issue about the way some big charities have lost touch with their original purpose, I made reference to possibly befuddled “little old ladies” who leave these politically-motivated cash-consumers money in their wills. This was compounded by a feature on being a grandparent in our November issue which was illustrated with a picture of a lady of appropriate age with white hair and glasses.

The complaints flooded in, mostly from women who were keen to point out that they too were grannies but were certainly not “little old ladies”. And the language! It would have made a docker blush. And then I realised – this was the Greenham Common generation. They don’t take perceived slurs lightly. (I should know. I’m married to one.)

So, apologies all round, ladies. Now go and do a bit of darning or bake some cakes…


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