the spirit of Christmas: “there’s no rule book for this!”

You don’t need me to say anything about this gigantic Secret Santa! I love these guys; click the picture to see the film. It sums up why I love New York, too: you just can’t imagine this happening in London, and if it did, no one would report it. Click here to see the article in the New York Times, too. Merry Christmas.

Editing in a little more jaded on Boxing Day. This isn;t just some fluffy feel-good story. I just can’t help thinking it’s, on some level, the Big Society in action (why do you think these kids are so desperate for Santa to “help their parents’?); and, unlike the situation we currently have in the UK, it is those who have, and who can, giving and doing what they can and feel they must. The point is that they are wonderful people, who did feel they must.

There are so many optional variables in that equation, it would be very easy for someone in that position to have written the thing off as a joke. (I had a friend who refused, for example, to give any money to the tsunami relief, six years ago today. He said, “That’s what governments are for, they’ll give money and it’s from my taxes. Why should I give more?”)

Ultimately, we must all take a bit more responsibility for one another, and that is the real message of Christmas. I’m not sure why it is, but it does seem to be. It might be the three magi, who took the trouble to come and see the miracle. And, as TS Eliot tells us, what they saw and perceived didn’t make them necessarily “happy” – not in that feel-good, fuzzy, “fun” way:

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.

Just as, though these two wonderful fellows are clearly happy about fulfilling some of these wishes, it’s not just about “fun.” It’s because they have the imagination to feel the kids on the other end of these letters, and the emotional depth feel a proper and very human sense of responsibility towards them – and the energy to do something with it.

Some are born to Christmas; some achieve it; and all of us have Christmas thrust upon us.

Thanks Jim & Dylan! (& I want your apartment.)

{ 2 comments }

Queen of Sleep December 26, 2010 at 10:49 am

Amazing guys and what a story! Thanks!

Simon R. Gladdish December 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Dear Katy

My sister has spent this Christmas in New York. She was only going for a week to visit an old friend but thanks to the superb organisation at Heathrow has ended up staying for three and flies home (hopefully) today. Just remember that ‘If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it!’ and ‘A publisher would rather see a burglar in his office than a poet.’ Happy Boxing Day!

Best wishes from Simon

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