This morning, children across the world heaved a sigh of relief. The World Health Organisation was indeed right when it clarified on December 16 that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas in more anglophile countries), is immune to COVID-19. His immunity clearly extends to the new strain that is emerging out of the United Kingdom. The joy of children — brought about by a sense of innocence and wonder, no doubt, but also, perhaps, from all the presents — is also bringing into sharp relief the need for Santa Claus to expand his remit. At the end of a year of isolation and uncertainty, of economic precarity and fear about the future, adults too need a little generosity.
Between last Christmas and this one, the world has changed. There is less shopping this year — job losses and salary cuts saw to that — and instead of hugs, a communal meal and laughter around the hearth, there are forced smiles and overcompensated gaiety over video calls. But despite annus horribilis, there are many things to celebrate — things, in fact, that are always worth cherishing. Those who have avoided COVID can breathe a sigh of relief. And for the rest, without having to be superficial at gatherings, grown-ups now know who their real friends are.
So, since the most important things are things money can’t buy, what can Santa bring adults this year? Could he, perhaps, shimmy down the chimney with a salary increment or, for those who lost work, a job? If that’s too ambitious, perhaps just a small party at the North Pole, where adults can enjoy a little revelry away from the rugrats — learning from home has taken a toll on parents too. But there is something that would be easiest of all, and particularly suited to Santa’s unique set of skills — speedy, same-night delivery being key among them. Could he, please, just leave a shot of vaccine under the Christmas tree?
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