Anorak News | Secret Santas

Secret Santas

by | 23rd, December 2004

”WHO would have guessed that hidden in a Government file were the rules for a proposed trade union for Father Christmases?’ asks Katie Norgrove at the National Council of Archives.

‘One out, all out’

Well, we admit that the thought hadn’t crossed our minds before, but now she mentions it, there is something of the union bureaucrat about old Santa.

The scruffy beard, indicating a mind on higher things than personal grooming. The portly figure, suggesting a sedentary lifestyle. The tell-tale red face, acquired through countless rounds of beer and sandwichesÂ…

The Guardian reveals the delicious truth, as recorded in official correspondence from 1969, and as is often the case, the truth is stranger than any fiction.

A charter called for the creation of the Brotherhood of Father Christmas and Santa Claus Union, and was passed through legal channels before being sent to the Registry of Friendly Societies.

The charter’s language had to be modified, after Registry officials dismissed parts of it as ‘completely meaningless’. Judge for yourself:

‘No member of this union may claim to be the true Father Christmas or Santa Claus. Each must proclaim the Brotherhood of all Santas, young and old alike, whether costumed or not, and impress upon his clients that work creates joy.’

Some might think that ‘work creates joy’ bears a worrying similarity to another couple of phrases popularised by a rather less jolly gentleman in Germany, and the self-styled Super-Santa who headed up the proposed organisation also sounds a bit iffy.

Fortunately, the police appear to have had their suspicions too, and the Telegraph publishes a photo from 1969 of a couple of militant Santas being apprehended for obstruction.

Neither of the ruffians appears to be upholding the union’s instruction that ‘all members must endeavour to bring the spirit of fantasy to bear’.

And the only sign of a ‘Ho, ho ho’ is on the lips of the burly constables making the arrest.

It all ended happily enough. The subversive Santas had their application rejected, and the world was made safe for a new breed of rugged individuals – self-employed and gloriously free of any notions of brotherhood, or, heaven forfend, joy.

Rejoice! Rejoice!’

Posted: 23rd, December 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink