Linda Colling: Lost joy of Christmas

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OH dear, the mother of the 13-year-old girl who wrote a Christmas wish list threatening to kill Santa if she doesn’t get what she wants, has vowed to meet her daughter’s demands.

What does she want? Apart from a Blackberry, a designer Laura Knitted 33 Jumper, money, Converse trainers and sunglasses, you may think you know exactly what she should get.

She wasn’t having a laugh, just letting her parents know precisely what she wanted because she is spoilt rotten by a mother who admits: “The last thing I want is for her to kill Santa. I know she sounds spoilt, but I like to get my girl what she wants.”

Mekeeda Austin is a pitiful product of homes where parents instil all the wrong values and there’ll be others like her everywhere, ruined this Christmas by mothers and fathers who are to blame for their avaricious offspring who live their lives keeping up with the Jones’s.

It’s parents like this who have stolen the magic of Christmas – sent it clean up the chimney before Santa tries to get down or even gets stuck, laden with Blackberries, iPhones, iPads, DVDs, Tablets and Transformers, enough to break poor Rudolph, Donner and Blitzen’s backs.

The vast majority of youngsters in their Dear Santa letters in the Echo wanted electronic wizardry. I know of one dad with girls aged three, seven and nine, who is buying them all iPads at £400 a shot. He can afford to. And there’s plenty more like him getting their kids all their heart’s desire, even if its inappropriate for their age, like the televisions three and four-year-olds are bought for their bedrooms.

What’s happened to the magic of not knowing what you would get? It’s been killed off by commercialism.

The Mekeeda’s of this world mean to get precisely what they want by hook or by crook and have no qualms about telling their parents so. This girl from Bedford even threatened to “hunt down” Santa’s reindeer and “cook them and serve their meat to homeless people.”

She then signed off her list with the chilling warning “Remember ... two of these or you die.” She explained: “I was angry because I thought I wasn’t going to get all the presents I wanted. Even though my mum found the note, I don’t see any problem with the letter. I want all these things. I don’t see why I shouldn’t get them.”

That’s the trouble. And that’s all she and others like her have ever known. And that’s why the older they get the bigger the demands. They are world’s removed from the kids who want everything they see in the Argos and Early Learning catalogues.

Such is their naivety, the excitement of Christmas has captivated them into believing if they tell Santa what a good boy and girl they have been, he could shower them with absolutely anything.

That’s innocence and what makes Christmas all that spells surprise. Too many have lost that at too tender an age. There’s no surprises left anymore.

I cast my mind back to Christmases past and the presents as a kid I longed for. I remember a watch, a pair of red velvet sandals, a nurses’ outfit and a toy shop with bottles and jars. While I’ll never forget those presents, it really wasn’t what Santa left, but the wonderful build-up, the sheer suspense and joy on the day, thrill and delight at whatever had been left at the foot of the bed. I wonder how many wake up to that wonder this Christmas Day.