In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.
Santa, are you there…?
When I was eight, I had to prove everything. That my upturned-cardboard-box table sale would make more than 50p; that my Jordan Knight dance routine was better than my sister’s (it was); and that my cat really didn’t mind getting dragged round the front garden in a John Lewis plastic bag. Sorry, Tom.
So when I heard a cruel whisper at school that Santa Claus might not be real, I set out to put the record straight! Why the big secret anyway? Why did Santa have to hide out all the time? The way I saw it, if he was real, he ought to just say so.
Admittedly Santa would probably bolt right back up his chimney if confronted by the outpourings of my imagination today (I’ve always thought the Maldives a more fitting backdrop to Wicked Ambition than the North Pole), but back then he didn’t seem to mind. So, I wrote a note to Father Christmas. Not just any old note, mind you – a contract. I put it to him straight: simply, it was time to man up. How was I meant to keep supporting him, defending his name against the non-believers etc. etc. if he didn’t give me at least a little in return? Just sign on the dotted line, I wrote bossily, with full name printed below, and we’ll all be happy. See? Proof.
It turns out Santa is a reasonable man – and he carries his own pen. I had left out felt tips for the purpose but whatever the big man used to sign had to be a magic wand. What else could it be? It was GOLD! And glittery. Right there in the morning, just as I had left it save for the addition of a beautiful old-fashioned autograph, was my wish come true. Just the faintest outline, a whisper of magic passing in the night, but most definitely and categorically there – in elaborate, beautiful, delicate script, two words:
To this day, nobody has admitted the fraud. The handwriting was and remains unlike any I’ve seen. Was the real Father Christmas in my room that night? It’s reassuring that a man in his position takes logic seriously – after all, it must get annoying when everyone thinks you’re made up all the time. Sometimes, you need just a sprinkle of proof. And mine made that year the best Christmas ever.
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