Dear Santa Claus,
My name is Jack and I am 20 and ½ years old. I've been a really, really good boy this year. I've even been nice to my sister, even though she can be really annoying sometimes. There are just a few things I want this year so I hope you manage to get them all.
Please can you remind the children (and indeed adults) of today that Facebook and Twitter are not adequate substitutes for social interaction. My concern is for those who will wake up on Christmas morning and the first thing they'll think to do is to change their status to 'Merry Christmas Everybody!!' or something equally as inane and, for all intents and purposes, anonymous. Fifty million other people will no doubt do the exact same thing and not one of them will really care. More fool you if you actually do.
Don't get me wrong, social media has connected the world in ways unimaginable just a decade ago; it's an incredible tool. Nevertheless, it is, or at least should be, a complement to and not a replacement for the personal relationships that our humanity has been built on. The endless pursuit of online friends and followers that is fast becoming become the main aspiration of many of our young is misguided and a concern. After all, Christmas's birthday boy, Jesus Christ, only had twelve and he's done alright.
Please can you explain to politicians that we don't mind if they get things wrong from time to time and within reason, so long as they are open and honest about it. Barking up the wrong tree is tolerable in the face of non-zero sum games. Idioms and cloaked metaphors - like the above - are just the sort of pompous, we-know-better-than-you distortions we've become accustomed to hearing and are symptomatic of the culture of secrecy in Westminster. For sure, there have been transparency improvements, but they've not gone far enough. The apathy currently blighting the British electorate and (despite his own outright denial of it) plainly brought onto our screens by Russell Brand, is not rooted in some perfectionist loathing of errors. It's a loss of faith in the motivations of politicians, at least in part, and honesty and frankness is a necessary first step in gaining that lost trust back.
Lastly, please can you enlighten society about the blind, thoughtless consumerism endemic of Christmas. I'm not saying you need to resign (though it might help), nor am I making some call for a return to Puritan traditions of a bygone era. I recognise that we live in a diverse, product-driven society. I'd just quite like the world to wake up and realise that giving at Christmas is about more than just the latest gadget or expensive handbag - it's about being thankful to the people who make our lives worthwhile. To say that Christmas has 'lost its soul' is to invoke the above-criticised hyperbole of a politician. It's not lost - just buried underneath the mountains of torn-to-shreds Snowman-themed wrapping paper that litter the country's living rooms (sorry - sometimes I just can't help myself).
Then there's the Christmas number one. What essentially started as a way of saying "I didn't know what to buy you so I got you what everyone else is getting" has become a corporate-driven procession of short shelf-life talent show winners, joke campaigns or those appealing to charities. Yes, the latter raises money for worthy causes and has a beneficial impact outside of the faux-grateful smile of your nephew but this sort of thing should be a constant occurrence, not one limited to December.
Sadly, I don't think I'll get any of these things. So I guess I'll settle for the new iPhone. In red. Or blue. Not pink though.