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An open letter to Santa

Ditch the coal, carrots and chimney-creeping Mr Claus – this year you're on the naughty list

Dear Mister Claus,

Most years, I’d be sending you a list of presents, and assurances that I’ve been well-behaved. Well hold your horses/reindeer, because this isn’t most years. This year, I’m a woke Oxonian. This year, I have purpose. This year, I’m done being nice, and this year, I’m putting you on the naughty list.

I believe the time has come to reform the outdated workings of Christmas. To that end, I present to you the Five Theses – they’re like the 95 Theses, except there are fewer of them, they’re not written by a German monk, and they’re directed at you.

  1. Stop giving coal to naughty children. It is frankly an irresponsible waste of the Earth’s finite resources. Have some compassion and leave the exploitation of fossil fuels in 2017. I mean not all of us have reindeer-power to rely on. The rest of us need coal. It is the cornerstone of modern life, and without it our lives would grind to a halt. But here you are, giving a scarce commodity to spoilt kids who have done nothing to deserve it. I suggest you think again. Don’t make the world suffer for the actions of bratty kids, you thoughtless bearded twit.
  2. Develop a keener and more active interest in the wellbeing of reindeer. Apparently polar bears aren’t the only arctic creatures whose lives you delight in ruining. Did you know the typical diet of reindeer includes lichen, willow, and birch? Clearly not, because you remain apathetic while year after year, all people provide for the poor creatures is carrots, with no lichen in sight. If you’re going to make reindeer do all your legwork, at least make sure they’re fed correctly. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, you stood by silently while Rudolph was harassed for years for a physical feature over which he had no control. Then you decided to force him (and the other reindeer) into dangerous, unpaid labour when you deemed it convenient? And you’re the one passing moral judgements on the world’s children?
  3. Find better, less invasive ways to monitor good or bad behaviour. Watching children while they’re sleeping is never a positive. Given that you’re an old man doing it in preparation for climbing down said children’s chimneys in the dead of night, I’m surprised you haven’t been the subject of a lawsuit. Did you not watch Spotlight? Connection to the Catholic Church is no longer a sufficient cover-up for this kind of behaviour.
  4. Have a little dignity. You were supposed to be a bishop. A bishop. You were supposed to wear a bishop’s mitre and everything. But a glance at the history books will tell us that after Thomas Nast drew a cartoon of you in a red suit, and the Coca-Cola company standardised the image as part of their advertising campaign, you adopted that as your trademark look. Supposedly, you safeguard the moral character of the nation’s children…but all you are is a commercialised sell-out. You have about as much substance as the Michelin Man, and he’s just supposed to sell tires.
  5. Do something about the mistletoe. You may not have been responsible for the mistletoe tradition, but as the face of Christmas, do you not feel an obligation to deal with the fact that every year, millions of people hang toxic plants all over their homes? And when I say toxic, I mean it in many ways. Firstly, it creates uncomfortable situations in which people are forced to kiss each other without explicit consent as a result of overwhelming social pressure thinly veiled as ‘tradition’. Secondly, it’s literally poisonous. What if a child swallows it accidentally? Or is that just how you whittle down the naughty list?

Having addressed these demands, you should move on to ensuring your elves are paid the National Living Wage.

Happy Christmas,


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