Do they know it's Christmas?

A tall tale about Santa, pandemics, scheming scientists and lying, spineless politicians.

Guest article by Gabrielle Annunziato

Preface by the Author

I make no apologies for the title of this story. I have shamelessly stolen it from the song released by the 'supergroup' Band Aid on 3 December 1984. Thirty-six years later, in 2020, the first two lines, jointly written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, sound chillingly prophetic. . . .

It's Christmas time, and there's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade

No we don't. We celebrate the climate of fear which has almost the whole world in its icy-fingered grip. Instead of uplifting carols we hear the bleating of millions of frightened sheep who willingly embrace every new restriction of their freedom. Benjamin Franklin may have been thinking of them when he said: "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Mark Twain certainly was when he said: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

But my favourite quotation, which sums up the whole sorry mess we are in, and I believe, the real causes of this scamdemic, comes from a British writer—C. S. Lewis. "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

It is in the hope of letting in a little 'light' this Christmas and banishing the shades of night that I have written this story. I chickened out of writing my own afterward after rejecting ideas like 'a brief history of Santa Claus,' 'what I did during lockdown' and (reluctantly) '101 fun things to do with face nappies.' So blame the editors if you don't like what they've produced. Personally, I found their razor-sharp analysis of the chilling parallels between Mad Cow Disease and Covid-19 highly informative and pretty convincing. Informative, as I knew little about the BSE crisis, as I was living in Italy at the time, and convincing because we never, ever learn from the mistakes of the past, so are doomed to perpetually repeat them. As an occultist—if a rather amateur one—this may explain why we all need to pay so many visits to this delightful realm of lunatics and lunacy.

Some readers may be offended by my light-hearted treatment of the virus pandemic. I would respectfully remind them of the fact—which even our craven Government does not question—that for the vast majority of people under 82.4 years of age with no serious underlying health conditions, Covid-19 presents no more risk than any other flu virus from previous years. Anyone who doubts this can easily check out the facts collected by the editors of this website in their articles about the virus. I would also add that the average age of death in this country was 81.2 in 2019. So those who reach 82.4 have already cheated the Grim Reaper out of 14 extra months of life!

Other readers may feel that the Government's increasingly bizarre and fruitless attempts to 'fight' the virus are an occasion for tears, if not for throwing oneself under a bus, but I disagree. Laughter is the best, and sometimes the only, medicine for the shambolic and depressing straits we find ourselves in. As I write this in late November 2020, another nationwide lockdown has been imposed on the UK. Things are apparently much, much worse in Italy, France, and other countries. Yet there are signs people are waking up to what one scientist has called "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public." Mass demonstrations are now taking place regularly in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and many other European cities. Hundreds of courageous doctors, nurses and scientists are coming together to oppose the madness, often at the risk of their careers and livelihoods. None of this is reported by the media; I wonder why?

I believe the present dire conditions provide golden opportunities for those of us who are genuinely in search of Truth to learn valuable lessons. Lessons such as the importance of real, spiritual faith, of humility, of thinking for ourselves and not blindly following the sheep or joining the goats, and resisting the attacks on our God-given freedom. But above all, putting the needs of others before our own, and in general, trying to be better, wiser human beings than we were before this madness started.

God rot you sorry Gentlemen

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T WAS CHRISTMAS EVE and the snow had been falling steadily all day. By noon all the country was enveloped in a thick blanket of virgin white, softening the harsh lines of buildings and obliterating every trace of social distancing warnings, yellow, adhesive footprints and posters advertising free toilet rolls with every designer face nappy and bottle of hand-sanitizer. All was still, all was peaceful except for the occasional muffled sob as another little boy or girl discovered there were no Christmas presents under the tree. Actually, there were no trees, even cheap plastic ones, or pretty paper angels to crown them. Nor any Christmas decorations, carol singers, holly or mistletoe. The Three Unwise Men who now ruled the land under Bad King Boris, Witless, Halfcocked and Gormless had decreed these things were not essential any more. Somewhere a cock crowed three times in remembrance perhaps of another time and another place when someone had denied something quite important, but that's another story altogether. . . .

Several hundred miles to the north, in a magical place few had ever visited, the snow swirled around a cluster of fairy-tale buildings lying in a sheltered little valley surrounded by tall pine trees. Welcoming light flowed out onto the white carpet of snow from the largest of these buildings as the door burst open, and a tall, gangling elf with a pointed nose stumbled inside, brushing handfuls of snow from his clothes. "You've been cancelled," he said, addressing the only other occupant of the room. He was dressed in a patched green jerkin, bright yellow trousers and wore a purple, pointed felt hat several sizes too small for him.

"Cancelled? CANCELLED?!" shouted a stout gentleman dressed in red whose normally jolly countenance was transformed into a grimace of righteous indignation. His long, white beard and moustaches were so luxuriant that a whole family of mice would have infected their grannies ten times over with some horrible disease, just to snuggle within that cosy nest for five minutes. But just at the moment it would have proved a very precarious habitat as their owner tore at it with suppressed rage.
"Yes, boss," repeated the elf somewhat timidly, "Witless, Halfcocked and Gormless have cancelled you."

"Who?" queried Santa, for as you will have guessed, the amply-fed gentleman dressed in red was none other than Santa Claus, the well-known philanthropist, sleigh driving champion and expert chimney abseiler. The magnificent, panelled hall in which we find him hard at work is none other than his famous grotto; a cornucopia of wonders to gladden the heart of any child.
"The Three Unwise Men. You know, the three stooges advising Bad King Boris about this deadly plague killing all the humans."
"God rot the sorry gentlemen!" cursed Santa, as fiery sparks flew from his beard in a shower of pyrotechnical exuberance. "Witless, Halfcocked and Gormless will rue the day they dared to cancel ME! Did they give any reason for their decision?"
"To stop the little kiddies from killing their grannies," replied the elf.

"What monstrous skulduggery!" thundered Santa in a stentorian voice, pointing to the mountains of childrens' toys stacked in huge, towering, piles around the walls of his grotto. "Do they know it's Christmas?"
"They've cancelled Christmas too."
"WHAT!?" shouted Santa. "We'll soon see about that! Call all the elves together, Gerald (for such was the tall elf's name) and tell them to get ready for the most magical Christmas ever!"
"Do you have a plan to overthrow Bad King Boris and banish the Three Unwise Men from the land?" asked Gerald.
"I'll say," retorted Santa with a wink. "I'm going to unleash a tsunami of a Christmas this crew of crafty covidians will never forget!"

Let nothing ye dismay

No sooner has Santa stepped out of his sleigh than he was accosted by a Covid Marshal who had been loitering under a nearby lamppost since the early evening. His one, burning desire was to arrest anyone foolish and reckless enough to venture out after curfew in search of mince pies or other forbidden festive fare. His Day-Glo yellow jacket was emblazoned with the words 'Rule of Six Squad' and he wore a peaked cap with a shiny, metal badge. This gave the impression he was some kind of policeman. In fact he was a litter picking enforcement officer who'd lost his job when Bad King Boris had locked all the people up. So you can imagine how annoyed he was to see someone flouting the regulations imposed by the Three Unwise Men to beat the deadly plague.

"Oi! You there!" he shouted triumphantly. "Ya can't park that effin thing there! Can't ya see the double yellow lines?"
"All I can see is snow," replied Santa. "And rather a lot of it."
"Don't try to get clever wiv me, mate! Where's ya face mask? Ya do know curfew starts at six o' clock; it's ten past seven now!"

Santa hoisted a huge, bulging sack onto his ample shoulders and strode purposefully down the street, carefully scrutinising each door as he passed. The Covid Marshal stumbled after him, pausing only to slap a parking ticket on the handrail of Santa's sleigh as he caught up with his quarry. "Oi!" he shouted. "You with the effin great rucksack! You're nicked for breaking Covid regulations."
"Sorry," can't stop to chat," said Santa.
"Wot's in the sack?" demanded the bristling busybody. "Not mince pies, I 'ope. Them's illegal ya know."
"Christmas presents," said Santa affably.
"A likely story," snapped the Covidian crusader. "Mince pies, more like or mistletoe—or mini Christmas trees. Ya do know Christmas is cancelled, don't ya?"
"Your Christmas may be," replied Santa, "But that's no concern of mine."
"Ya wot?" Ya threatenin' me? Who do ya fink ya are? Effin Santa Claus?"
"As it happens I am Santa Claus."

"Ya must fink I'm an effin idiot."
"Well. . ." said Santa with a chuckle, "if that nice, shiny cap fits. . ."
"I don't believe in Santa. No one does. Ya just some daft old geezer workin' some illegal scam. Ya well nicked, you is. Now open that sack."
"I don't think so."
"I demand ya open that sack."
Santa sighed wearily, and untying the neck of his sack, tilted it towards the Covid Marshal. "See? No mince pies. Just Christmas presents."
"Open one!"
"If you insist," said Santa. "But on your head be it. . ."
"Why, what's gonna 'appen?" snarled the Covid Marshal with a sneer. "Magician, are ya? Gonna turn me into a giant rabbit or make me disappear, are ya?"
"Something like that. Something quite, wonderfully magical will happen if I unwrap this present."

What happened next has been the source of endless speculation, heated argument and not a few twitter storms. In fact not much else has been discussed in pubs and coffee bars up and down the country ever since Santa got rid of the plague, stopped the panic and ended the lockdowns. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. When Santa unwrapped the Christmas present three things happened all at once.

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For Santa Claus our Saviour did come upon this day. . .

First, there was a blinding flash of light and the Covid Marshal did disappear. Moments later he reappeared on a snowy rooftop just in time to see Santa's ample posterior retreating down the nearest chimney stack. Behind him, five men dressed as covid marshals were making their noisy way across the roof towards him. "Shhh. . ." he whispered, raising a cautionary finger to his frozen lips. "I've got the real Santa Claus trapped down this chimney."
"No ya 'aven't," said the five in unison. "There ain't no such geezer as Santa Claus. You've been drinkin' illegally, you 'ave. A few too many by the sound of it. If you come quietly we may not press charges. We 'ave the good reputation of the force to fink of, don't we lads?" His companions nodded sagely. The Covid Marshal made a dash for the other side of the roof, slipped, and knew no more.

Second, Bad King Boris was rudely awakened from a very pleasant dream in which Princess Nut Nuts had completely lost her voice to find himself sitting in someone else's fireplace, covered in soot. Third, the Three Unwise Men—Witless, Halfcocked and Gormless—were magically transported to Santa's Grotto. There they were joined by Professor Fergy Useless and a group of angry politicians puffed up with self-importance brought on by a surfeit of imaginary power and vintage claret. Their bewilderment at their precipitate relocation was matched by the discomfort of having to stand outside in the freezing cold dressed only in their indoor clothes. For the lustful mathematical modeller dubbed 'professor pants down' by the press that meant without any trousers. But this was nothing to the torture of being taunted by Santa's elves who, from the warm comfort of the grotto, made rude gestures through the frost-decorated windows.

"Let us in, damn you!" shouted Gormless and Witless, as the snow swirled around them with ever-increasing velocity.
"You can't leave us out here in these conditions," shouted Fergy Useless, vainly trying to cover his naked legs with his shirt.
"Let us in!" cried the shivering politicians.
"Are humans supposed to be that colour?" One elf asked his neighbour.
"What colour?"
"Looks more like grey to me," said another. "Or it could be very pale blue."
"Oh look," added an elf with a sprig of holly in his hat, pointing at Professor Witless. "That one's turned as white as a sheet."
"So he has," said a short elf dressed in green. "D'you think he's having a heart attack or could it be lack of oxygen?"
"Lack of oxygen judging by the enormous muzzle he's wearing."
"More like low blood sugar," said the short elf.
"The humans banned mince pies."
"Good point," agreed the other elves.

"I'm freezing to death out here," sobbed Gormless.
"I can't feel my legs," complained Fergy Useless.
"We should never have voted to cancel Christmas," whined a very junior minister.
"We can't hear you through your silly face nappies!" the elves shouted back.
"Open up!" cried the shivering politicians in unison. "We're innocent! We only did what the Three Unwise Men told us to do.
"No you didn't," retorted Witless. "If you had Boris would never have sacked Fergy and that mad Father Christmas impersonator would still be on furlough."
"Father C-C-Christmas impersonator?" stammered a frozen communications strategist who had been transported to Santa's grotto by accident. "We didn't g-get here by Easyjet you idiot! Santa Claus did it by magic!"
"Oh shut up!" snarled Halfcock. "You spineless wimps make me sick." Pushing them aside he strode forward through the drifting snow, and pounded on the door of the grotto with his fists. "Do you know who I am you ugly, pointy-eared sub-human misfits? I am the Minister for Health. If you don't open this door immediately it'll be the worse for you."

But the door—which like everything else in this valley was magical—answered back. "The first one of you to confess the evil he's done can come in. Or you can all freeze to death together."
Halfcock staggered back in shock and consternation. The arrogance was knocked out of him, but not the slyness or the cunning. He turned to the Three Unwise Men and said: "well? Which one of you will confess first?"
That's the kind of team spirit that prevails among politicians and scientists. This was the signal for the rest to begin accusing one another while the elves looked on with grim satisfaction. The acrimonious shouting match didn't last long. Slowly, one by one, they were overcome with cold, dropped to their knees, and slid into unconsciousness. But they didn't die. That would be too good for them. Instead they dreamed evil dreams of misery, hopelessness and despair; of lives ruined by their thoughtless cruelty and selfish ambition and others cut short by suicide. When they awoke they wished they were still dreaming.

. . . To save us all from Boris' power (when he had gone astray)

Meanwhile, Bad King Boris had climbed out of the fireplace and was shaking like a wobbly jelly. Whether because his only covering was a pair of boxer shorts or for some other reason, this story does not tell. The room was sparsely furnished with a sofa, two easy chairs and a small coffee table. There was no tree, no decorations, or the smallest sign that it was Christmas Eve. This should have pleased Boris but somehow the absence of these forbidden items distressed him. The accusing figure of Santa Claus towering over him and the two unhappy children staring at him upset him even more. The children—a boy of about nine and his sister who was a little younger—were pointing at his shorts. The offending item was decorated with a pattern of laughing policemen waving truncheons superimposed on a seasonal masked teddy bears motif.

"Your pants are horrible," said the little girl.
"You're right, Rosie," agreed her brother. "Whoever bought them is nuts."
"My girlfriend Carrie is not nuts," said Boris defensively.
"Oh yes she is," Rosie countered. "Everyone knows Carrie's not her real name. It's Princess Nut Nuts, isn't it Ben?"
Ben nodded.
"You ill-mannered, ignorant, snotty-nosed little tykes!" spluttered Boris. "You need a damn good hiding!" He hoisted his boxers further up his bulging belly and made a rush for the children. But Santa blocked his path and with one look from his twinkling, blue eyes, sent him hurtling backwards, scattering soot as he went.

"Do cover yourself up in front of the children," he said, throwing Bad King Boris a sack. "I've made some holes in it for you arms and legs."
Under the compelling gaze of his prosecutor, Boris put on the sack with undisguised disgust. "You won't get away with this, you know. Very important people are looking for me and when they find me you'll be Christmas crackered. Your goose will be cooked. Your turkey will be well and truly stuffed!" He smiled at his little joke, but Santa's smile was bigger.
"If you mean the Three Unwise Men or Princess Nut Nuts and her merry band of covid conspirators, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. They've been detained by my elves and won't be rescuing any deposed Kings anytime soon. In fact, it's their 'goose' which is cooked along with yours. The whole, sorry lot of you are dismissed, disempowered and deposed."
"D-deposed! DEPOSED you say?" spluttered Boris. "You can't depose ME!"
Santa gave the ex-King a pitying look.
"I've sacked the sorry lot of you—literally in your case."

The children broke into peals of laughter while ex-King Boris stared uncomprehendingly at his nemesis, confusion, rage and shock passing over his florid face in rapid succession.
"B-but I'm King! This can't be happening. It's all a bad dream. I want Carrie! I want Dom—nooo, not him, get Carrie. No, send for Nanny! Nanny will make the nasty man in fancy dress go away."
"Your worst nightmare, eh?" asked Santa. "Well, you should have thought of that before you CANCELLED me!" His voice rose to a roar that shook the walls of the room and started Bad King Boris shaking again.

The fat fraudster fell to his knees and blubbed like a baby. "It's not fair. I only wanted to be loved and famous like Alexander the Great. I was named after him you know, but people insist on calling me Boris. Mummy never loved me. No one loves me. They all secretly laugh at me and say I'm stupid. I'm not stupid; I'm not! I went to Eton you know, and Oxford. You have to be really clever to go there, like Carrie. She's very clever. People say I'm only in it for the big, flashy cars, luxurious palace and nubile young virgins fawning all over me all the time. No! Sorry Carrie, I didn't mean that! I didn't, honest! Look, I've just had a run of bad luck. First Brexit and then the bally virus. I didn't invent it you know. It's real. I nearly died of it."
"No you didn't," said Santa. "We both know it was just another kind of flu. It poses little danger to most people, even someone as fat and unhealthy as you. Children aren't affected at all." He smiled down at Rosie and Ben who gazed up at him in wonderment.

"When you found out the virus was not a deadly plague you should have done the right thing and protected the vulnerable. Instead you threw the old and sick to the wolves, locked the able-bodied up and destroyed their livelihoods, while running up huge debts that will take years to pay back."
"It's not my fault I was given bad advice. I went astray because an evil wizard called Dom made me do bad things. He said Duke Corbyn would seize the throne if I didn't do as he said. By the time Carrie made me banish him it was too late."
"You're a spineless, blustering, bumbling, lying, dangerous buffoon," said Santa. He seized the ex-King by the scruff of his neck and frog-marched him to the fireplace, into which the cowardly clown collapsed like a sack of potatoes. "But you're not evil. That's the only reason I'm sending you back to your palace and not the flames of hell that will be welcoming Dom. Now watch me undo your folly!"

Santa spread wide his hands and a stream of tiny, sparkling snowflakes flowed from them into the room until the air was dancing with their fiery splendour. Some entered the chimney, causing Boris to wince with pain as they flew past his burning cheeks. The few, brave souls who had ventured out after curfew were astonished to see a fountain of light rising from the roof of an ordinary-looking semi-detached house. It grew brighter and larger, spreading everywhere, all around the land. And whenever and wherever it touched someone suffering from the virus, they were healed instantly, never to fall sick again. But that was only part of the magic of Christmas. In every city, town and village, even in the tiniest hamlet, the fear which had shrouded the land for so very long was lifted and dispersed as if it had never been. Carol singing broke out spontaneously everywhere. Church bells rang out in joyful celebration. Doors were flung open and the people poured outside to hug one another and reclaim their lost freedom. The snitches and sneaks on the other hand—and all those who had aided and abetted Bad King Boris and the Three Unwise Men—cowered in dark corners and dank cellars, gnashing their teeth and wringing their face nappies.

Rosie and Ben clapped their hands in delight as a Christmas tree decorated with shimmering tinsel and antique, glass ornaments materialized before their startled eyes. "Look!" cried Ben. "Presents! Tons of presents!" It was true. There were so many presents around the tree that Rosie could barely see over them to where delicious-looking chocolate stars dangled tantalisingly from the emerald-green branches. "And mince pies on the table!" shrieked Ben. There was holly too, scented candles and mistletoe in abundance. In fact the little sitting room had never looked so festive. Best of all, a crackling, log fire had sprung up in the grate, illuminating the room with dancing shafts of golden light. Somewhere, from high up in the chimney breast, was heard a muffled scream of pain, followed by what sounded like 'trees are illegal.' But the children weren't listening. Santa hoped no one would listen to that blustering voice ever again.

O tidings of comfort and joy

After Santa had worked his Christmas magic things quickly returned to normal. Real normal that is; not 'new' or 'nearly normal,' and certainly not the kind of pretend 'normal' the Three Unwise Men had planned for the people. In fact everything was so much better than normal, there are no words to describe just how much life had changed for the better, but that's another story for another time. The important thing is that all the people in the land were happy, healthy and prosperous again. Well—most of them were. Some people are never happy, even when you put clean straw in their rooms and feed them organic oats every day.

Bad King Boris wasn't happy. After Santa's elves dragged him from the dusty cupboard he'd been hiding in for a week he tried to blame the cancellation of Christmas on Princess Nut Nuts. But she'd already deserted the father of her child and taken refuge with a family of badgers in their underground sett in Surrey. Next he tried to blame the Three Unwise Men, but they couldn't be found. Some say they escaped from the elves with the help of evil wizard Dom and boarded a plane for Amazonia. Others say Santa got them jobs as order pickers on zero-hours contracts at Amazon. Opinion is divided. Either way, they were never heard of again. The same cannot be said for (ex) Bad King Boris. He called the Three Unwise Men some very rude names, complained that Princess Nut Nuts had taken him for a ride (or several), and said he was only obeying the orders of evil wizard Dom. Many people demanded he should be hanged—Boris that is, not Dom, who was last seen climbing into an inflatable dinghy abandoned on a beach at Dover. Others wanted Boris' head stuck on a spike on Westminster Bridge. Santa wouldn't hear of such barbarities and exiled him to Regents Park to share an eco-friendly Yurt with Duke Corbyn and a devoted staff of drunken, feckless politicians suffering from low self-esteem brought on by their sudden and unexpected unemployment.

What of Professor Fergy Useless? It was his wild predictions that persuaded Bad King Boris and the Three Unwise Men to embark on their ruinous crusade of covid craziness in the first place. Santa Claus had him incarcerated in a private psychiatric clinic in Liechtenstein along with his team of fellow computer modellers. There the mad mathematician modelled happily to the end of his days. But the only models he made were Plasticine effigies of the Three Unwise Men which he stuck pins into. It is unclear why he did this but at least he kept his pants on while he was doing it. The Covid Marshal awoke in his own bed with frostbite, a raging hangover and a 'Get well soon' card from Santa Claus. After a very long period of convalescence he retrained as a chimney sweep. According to Gerald, Santa's senior helper, the pigeons couldn't get enough of his company.


© Copyright Gabrielle Annunziato & All rights reserved.
Published 1 December 2020.

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