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The Ministry of Culture

Lesson #19:

CHRISTMAS

Ho ho ho, you inadequately educated imbeciles. Santa Summy here, with one more article which is both magnificent and coy-as-a-willing-virgin.

This month is the season of goodwill to all men (and like, chicks too), and the time of ecstatic unrestrained commercial dilly dallyings with Satan himself. Fittingly, and for want of a superior subject, this month I thought I should get jiggy with the yuletide spirit and furthermore, get seasonal on yo' ass.

Most people think they know the Christmas Story, but as usual I am privy to information you half-wits can only dream of. So let me spill the beans.... Ooops.

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ's alleged birthday. I say "alleged" because even in these enlightened times, scholars are divided as to whether he was born on that day, or even at all. One thing is for sure though, nobody really cares about all that balderdash. It's not the point.

WHAT? CHRIST IS NOT THE POINT OF CHRISTMAS?

Damn straight. Hundreds of years ago, people sat about contemplating the blessed martyr's agonizing death. Their wretched lives were made even more somber by the sheer misery and guilt of what our forefathers did to the son of God. Rather than get drunk and spend all their money, they chose to sing holy songs and pray for forgiveness. No James Bond movie for them, then.

Luckily, someone invented Santa and the whole Christmas concept was shattered like an ice sculpture of a dozen flamingos falling off the back of a train.

SANTA? WHAT THE?

Santa rocks.

Originally he had the rather dubious distinction of being the patron saint of children and sailors, but he spent a lot of money on an image change employing the varied skills of the "Lapland SuperStar Talent" agency. Their first conversation ran thus:

 

Nicholas: Hello. I'm looking for a change of image.

Buddy Myers (senior image consultant): What seems to be the problem, big guy?

N: Well, this whole Saint thing, I feel it's going nowhere. I mean, the most attention I get is on my feast day, and even then, well, it's a passing mention at best.

BM: Well, you know what? We had Saint Christopher in here last month, and our "Traveller's Friend" re-launch programme has really worked wonders.

N: Really?

BM: Damn right. We've got a whole merchandising department working 24 hours a day on neck chains, ankle bracelets, soft drinks. People have really, like, gone for this idea.

N: So what could you do for me?

BM: Ok, well, lets put a few bald eagle eggs in the mountain-top nest, and let's see if the hawk hatches.

N: I'm sorry?

BM: What would you say are your greatest strengths?

N: Well, I like children. Not so keen on Sailors though.

BM: Good. Anything else?

N: Big white beard?

BM: Hmmmm. It's not much, but I'll have my guys knock up a presentation, and we'll see what we can do. Norma! Have this guy measured and get Clarence looking at some clothes.

TWO WEEKS LATER

Nicholas: Hello Buddy, how's things?

Buddy: Great Nick, great. Listen, we had a think-tank here and it threw up some interesting options. First up, your big problem is that the feast day is 6th December. That's too near Christmas, so we figured, hell, in for a penny, in for a pound, no point in plucking the goose and not putting him in the pot, can't have two horses on the track. Do you follow?

N: No.

BM: simple, instead of treating Christmas as a rival feast, we thought about a merger.

N: A merger?

BM: Yeah. We've been on the phone to the big guy, and he thinks this could be mutually beneficial. Cross promotion, if you'll pardon the pun.

N: What, you mean Christ agreed to this?

BM: No, the top guy. Christ can't sign off on something this big.

N: I see.

BM: So, we agreed you'll drop your feast day, and become part of the Christmas festival.

N: But hang on, won't I get overshadowed by the anniversary of the saviour's birth.

BM: Not if our research holds up. First of all, you lose that brown sacking, Clarence has a new outfit for you.

N: I'm not wearing that. I'll look ridiculous.

BM: You'll grow into it. And laugh will you?

N: Hahaha.

BM: Stop! Stop! We were thinking of a deeper, more affectionate chuckle. More sort of "Ho ho ho."

N: Ho ho ho.

BM: Work on it. Clive, explain the schtick to Nick.

Clive (head of promotion and publicity): OK Nick, first thing: the name. You are now going to be known as Santa Claus, like they call you in Holland, right?

N: Well.....

C: It's to give you authenticity. And that's not all. We're gonna blow Christ out of the water with this baby. Check it out. You will go around every house in the world and give presents to small children on the evening before Christ's birthday. I mean, come on, what better way is there to appeal to your target audience?

N: And the sailors?

C: Fuck the sailors.

N: Oh, right.

C: I mean, when they unwrap their presents, who are they going to be thinking of? It's a pre-emptive strike, man.

N: Won't Christ mind?

C: That's the beauty of it. He'll just turn the other cheek.

N: So, how am I going to do this?

C: We've had our technical guys knock together a flying sleigh, propelled by reindeer.

N: What?

C: no, just putting you on.

N: Oh, hahaha.

BM: Nick?

N: Sorry, er, ho ho ho.

C: This is the real peach. You do nothing. We circulate the story that you do this every year, kids will be charmed. But adults will know it's unlikely, not to say impossible. So they'll feel compelled to buy the presents and say they're from you. Thereby minimising your outlay and labour.

N: Will it work?

C: Does the pope shit in the woods?

Their campaign was so successful that Santa is still number one, with Jesus Christ a poor third, after Bing Crosby in terms of seasonal favour. After all, who’s face do you see on Christmas cards? Exactly. He's got it made.

Right, the pubs are still open. I'm outta here, happy Christmas readers, and remember, if you are buying us Shrubbery people a present, make it expensive.

 

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT?

Jesus was unlucky. Not only was he nailed to a cross and tortured to death, but he only got presents once a year as his birthday fell on Christmas day.

Santa couldn't give a toss if you have been good or bad, as long as you buy the merchandise.

Until next time:

Verheugd Kersttijd

Uncle Summy








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