Advent Firesiders

Dusters (2019)

I'm surprised Father Christmas has survived so long since his red-coated eruption in the late 1920s. His attraction has indeed been great, not only offering gruff bonhomie in his grotto but also working tirelessly with his elves, riding around on a sleigh over ground that hasn't seen Winter snow for a decade, and plunging down the non-existent chimneys of centrally heated tower blocks. If it weren't for the juvenile collusion required to guarantee presents, children would be as explicitly cynical about this as they are about the Seven Dwarves or Cinderella's footwear. Ever earlier children learn to separate reality from myth and to recognise the degree of collusion demanded by their parents; in a rather charming way, when a parent reads a story to the child, the child is quite deliberately pleasing the parent, and not always altruistically.

What sort of society is it that dresses up its best, present-giving intentions, in all this Arctic mumbo-jumbo? Why can't we say to our children: "We are giving you this present to celebrate the birth of Jesus because we love you", instead of separating the present both from Jesus and from parental love by dragging in Father Christmas with his elves and reindeer? What subterfuge will we invent to obscure the love of Jesus and our own love when the red coat is cut up to make dusters?