Suffer not the little children

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Liz Breslin pens a Christmas letter in spirit of the season. 


Dear Santa, Baby Jesus, all the angels and the Grinch,

It’s that time of year again. And I’m not quite sure which of you is running this show at the moment, so I thought I’d hedge my bets and write to you all.

This peace on earth business — it’s getting crucial. I don’t know if there are any stocking-sized solutions to the new normal that is frighteningly like the old normal that people died and fought for so we could have Wi-Fi and good coffee and think that it makes us happy and free. To be fair, I have been doing a lot of research about Poland in the 1930s and 1940s recently. Which may be giving me a skewed perspective. But it petrifies me to hear friends saying things such as: "I’m staying for now because I love my country" and "it’s not so bad yet."

And you know, (well, of course YOU do, Mr Baby Jesus, Sir, but some of us have clearly forgotten) that a large component of the Christmas story is about refugees and the kindnesses shown towards them, so maybe, Mr Grinch, you could put a hex or an obliviata spell on the haters, to turn them into caring human beings. I trust you to choose whatever method is most effective. Because, Grinchy-baby, I know you got good in you. We all do.

On the local front, could you please give the nice folks at the DCC a large amount of very sparkly lights to spell out Unesco City of Literature? And please waive the "all decorations down by Twelfth Night" rule on this one, because it is a massive deal. I’m not sure if news has made it to you in the polar regions/heaven/Mt Crumpit, but there are only 20 Unesco Cities of Literature in the world, which makes it a huge compliment to Dunedin’s writers, publishers and general cultural fabric. I’ve had to convince four people in the last week that it isn’t Wellington that’s a City of Literature. (And someone thought it was Hamilton. I didn’t know where to start with that.) So, lots of celebrational sparkly lights, please. Fill that sleigh. Deck all the halls.

And on the note of notable publishers, please give the staff of the ODT glad tidings of great comforts and all the joyous things they want, which verily thereforth they deserveth so well: it is crucial to have independent, local news and perspectives. And readers and supporters of it, too.

Would you also, Team Christmas, please consider giving some slack to the kids in the process of inheriting our shaky (literally and metaphorically) world. And some shiny tech things or whatever.  Suffer not the little children, and all that. And could you kindly blast them with some interesting polyphonies or dissonances (I’m thinking of you and that Silent Night descant here, angels) then perhaps they will go forth and put an end to the tyranny of Auto-Tune. Also, streaks. Why is it even a thing? Maybe, Santa, you could pretend to be down with it and get Snapchat and do streaks for days on end with all the ’tweens and that would turn them against it like happened in that Chinpokomon episode of South Park. On second thoughts, don’t, because ’tis not the season to be creepy and see above about not suffering the kids.

I’m a bit afraid to list the rest of everything that needs fixing. I’m worried I’ll get the order of priorities wrong and anyway, who’s to say that it’s for me to say?  I’ve got wonderful selfless friends who save the world for their day job and/or in their spare time and I am in awe of their commitment and most days I can’t even save myself.

For myself, from your good red and brown and white and green selves, I don’t want for anything I don’t already have. My family, laughing and arguing. Friends. Feet in  the lake, in the sea, on the sand, on the grass. I’ve long dreamed that I could be a writer and that’s starting to come true. And I can lie warm in bed, listening to rain on the roof.

Oh yeah, about that, you guys. If you could hold off the sky crying on the 25th, it’d be much appreciated. Choose sunshine to smile on us mere mortals so we can head to the beach or eat outside. It’s the simple things.Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration.

Yours very sincerely, truly, etc.

Cheers. Liz. 

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