Page 3 of The Croydon Advertiser this week features a story about a little girl who is so scared of Father Christmas that her anxiety threatens to spoil her enjoyment of Christmas. Her father has written a book for Santaphobic children to help them overcome their fears. Apparently many children in the USA and UK are terrified of Santa.
How ironic that we forget the One after whom Christmas is named and terrify our children with a character who doesn't exist. But I suppose it's hardly surprising that some children are scared. Our society is paranoid about the relationship of adults and children and the rest of the year we tell our children to avoid strange men - and what is stranger than an old bearded man in a red suit. What is even more ironic is that the portrayal of Father Christmas that we are familiar with today only dates back to a 1930s advertising campaign by Coca-Cola.
I was saddened by this story - sad for the little girl whose Christmas has been spoilt, but also sad that our society has got its values so confused.