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JONATHAN JANSEN | Bah humbug to those yuletide killjoys

Please, shelve the political correctness and let's have a dose of imagination, especially for the children

A recent meme has it that Santa came under pressure to modernise. Snowmen will henceforth be called snowpersons, reindeer are now 'airfreight specialists' and the elves are 'Santa’s size-challenged assistants'. Stock photo.
A recent meme has it that Santa came under pressure to modernise. Snowmen will henceforth be called snowpersons, reindeer are now 'airfreight specialists' and the elves are 'Santa’s size-challenged assistants'. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Bolsunova

“I have lots of presents,” squealed my happy three-year-old granddaughter as she jumped around the lit-up Christmas tree in the far north of New Zealand. For her and the family, Santa is real.

So I was a little upset when Bishop Antonio Staglianό recently told a bunch of happy children that “Santa Claus is an imaginary figure”.

I hope the Pope sorts out this yuletide killjoy. After all, these Catholic bishops believe in deities they have never seen and that a virgin gave birth. But a big, fat, bearded man in a red-and-white suit from Andy’s Big Man’s Shop is too much for you?

Yes, I’m upset. One of the best memes on the subject got it right: “Please allow children to believe in Santa. You believe in Herbalife and nobody is ruining it for you.” Precisely. Think about it. We enter into unsigned contracts with reality every single day and there is no bishop to rectify your nonsensical beliefs.

Millions of South Africans believe former president Jacob Zuma is on the verge of death and that his release from prison is nothing more than a humanitarian act. Countless others believe there is no coronavirus, that the near 90,000 deaths were caused by other things and that wearing masks has a crippling effect on your pulmonary health. Ace is an honest man; De Ruyter is a threat to the grid; Orlando Pirates is a team on the up-and-up (we just lost 4-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns); and Ramaphosa will create millions of new jobs.

We trot out this gibberish every day on social and in print media, but the Santa story? A bridge too far. Listen, there are still South Africans wondering which Nigerian syndicate made off with Piet Rampedi’s decuplets.

Don’t get technical with me

A professor of aeronautical and mechanical engineering at a US university (a Santa math specialist), with his students, calculated that the old man would have to cover 200-million square miles to reach 75-million homes at 5,083,000mp⁄h. That means 300-million metres per second, which is 130 times slower than the speed of light. Which is possible in the 24 hours of Christmas Day if relativity clouds are taken into account ... (no, seriously).

Don’t get political with me, either

A recent meme has it that the ageless Santa (St Nick was born around 280AD near Turkey) came under pressure to modernise with the times. Snowmen will henceforth be called snowpersons, reindeer are now “airfreight specialists” and the elves are “Santa’s size-challenged assistants”.

Slowly but surely, all our cherished traditions are melting away because of political correctness.

Slowly but surely, all our cherished traditions are melting away because of political correctness.

Word on the street is that the EFF has taken the entire North Pole Workshop Company to the labour court for not complying with employment equity requirements at the moment when the perpetually white Santa flew in over South African waters. The DA, signing up as a friend of the court, argued vociferously that it is very hard to find a black Santa that would be credible to children. After all, how many black people live that far north, where everything, including the landscape, is white?

Speaking on behalf of the ANC, the president expressed shock that Santa was still white. Luthuli House held a press conference to announce that it had received a complaint that Santa’s elves had not been paid their December salaries; this was outrageous, said minister Gwede Mantashe, as he offered the elves alternative jobs on one of Shell’s oil rigs in the Eastern Cape. The ACDP said it would commit the plight of the elves to prayer, but they were concerned that Santa was becoming a cult figure, what with his hellish red cloak.

Not to be outdone, the South African Diabetes Association (Sada) weighed in, noting its long-standing concerns that Santa was a bad example to those with mass issues.

By sitting all day on those big chairs in the malls without much movement, the sedentary Santa was normalising oversized bodies and that was a negative health message, said Sada. It suspects the corpulent Santa was no longer pre-diabetic, but a full-blown diabetes patient who needed urgent care. In fact, unless treated with several boosters, the heavy-set man is particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and that would be the end of Christmas as we know it.

We need to protect the idea of Santa. In a world repeatedly klapped by reality this past year, the one thing we all need now is a good, healthy dose of imagination; none more so than for the children.

TimesLIVE

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