It’s Christmas once again, of course the busiest time of year for you, but the rest of us seem to flap around unprepared and gawping that it’s ‘come around so quickly again’. As the years tick on, I find myself in less of a flap (having become more ambivalent with age) but more cynical about the festive season. I’ll be honest Santa, my belief in the magic of Christmas is waning. Well, it ebbs and flows depending on whether I’m spending time with my kids, as their sheer wonder and delight brings sparkle to everything. But while you’ll grant their unadulterated wishes, I ask you to spare a thought for a Scrooge this year as I am writing to you in the faint hope that your Christmas magic can bring me my request.
The commercialism of the season means all the talk is around the presents, the food, the drink, the parties, the more food, the more drink… and the food again. But as Christmas signifies another end to the year, I want the festivities to be an opportunity for us to take stock of where we are as a society and what foundations we are laying in place for not only the next year, but the next generation.
I would say 2017 has been particularly characterised by the population making decisions based on our own personal agendas. Society is more divided than ever, the wealth gap is ever expanding, and rifts are forming not only between the rich and the poor, but across race, sex, politics and religion too. Our leaders can’t even seem to galvanise momentum long enough to achieve an agenda other than their own. While we often feel let down by politics, the place we go to escape from the real world has left us feeling hollowed too. The entertainment industry, or specifically Hollywood, has in 2017 had the Wizard of Oz curtain drawn back to reveal an abyss of moral decay. My feeling is that we have only tapped the surface of this cess pit, and with the stark sexual abuse allegations at Operation Yewtree still being investigated, the reality of this problem is not going to be left in 2017.
The operations that underpin our society, from social care, to the NHS and the emergency services are being challenged and stretched like we’ve never seen before. Not only are these institutions being stripped financially, but they are also being damaged ideologically. As President Trump makes moves to firmly stand against Obamacare and the UK government continue to scrap junior doctor’s benefits and NHS funding, we are uprooting the foundations of our society. Not only is this a problem for us, but it means we are leaving a barren land of heinous selfishness for our children to live in.
So, Santa, I turn to you, in desperation, at this time when it feels like the world is drawing in a deep breath to take stock of the year that’s passed and ask that you sprinkle a bit of your magic onto our lives. Use your spirit to help us remember that family and community are the core of what we as humans thrive on. Act as our metaphorical ghost of Christmas future to remind us that when we are no longer here our descendants will have to exist in this society that we are building, they will live in this collective legacy that we are creating. And so, it matters not what we achieve for ourselves in the now, but what foundations we are laying for their future. While we are sitting at home, tuning into the Christmas telly with our turkey sandwiches, I’m asking you to remind us to take the time to think about all the multi-generational families who will be doing the same, to think of the Christmas’ they’ve seen, the wishes they’ve made, the letters they’ve written to you, Santa. And to also think about the Christmas’ they have yet to see, the memories they have to make and of course the letters they might help their children write to you, big man.
Every generation has the right to have a say in the future that we are all going to be part of. So, while some may be disenfranchised right now, we should use this festive season to remember our responsibility not just to better our own personal circumstances, but also to make the world a better place for those around us. So, Santa, I ask you to grant my Christmas wish this year and make sure we work to leave our world a better place than the one which we were born into.
Wishing you season’s greetings,