the state of things

 

Santa's Christmas Eve Blues

by Elvis Shackleton - 11:22 on 03 December 2013

In what is becoming an annual tradition for billions of people, every December families around the globe settle down in front of a roaring fire for a reading of the timeless Christmas classic, Santa's Christmas Eve Blues. With mince pies flowing, and mulled wine by the flagon, the first reading of the season of Douglas Lindsay's traditional festive cracker is fast becoming the world's favourite December pastime. And while it is illegal in more than one hundred and fifty-seven countries to read the story before 1st December each year, what began as a Christmas Eve ritual for many, has quickly morphed into an all-month festive treat for millions of people.

'It's quite extraordinary,' says Professor Malcolm Connery, of the Glasgow Institute of Special Things. 'Scotland has given the world many things over the years. The telephone, golf, the television, tarmac, whisky, Ewan McGregor, the deep fried Mars Bar and Sandy Lyle's bunker shot on the 18th at the '88 Masters, but Santa's Christmas Eve Blues has become all of that combined. Every reading of the story is a massive literary event in itself. Even sitting on your own in your front room reading it, is like the Edinburgh Book Festival times a thousand.'

Author Lindsay, better known for the barbershop death junky Barney Thomson series, and the visceral, porn-laden profanity of his hit crime shocker A Plague of Crows, is reluctant to talk about the story, but many hours of searching through dark and forgotten websites from the dawn of the internet, reveal a long-forgotten interview that Lindsay gave on the subject of the Yuletide classic, in the winter of 1946.

'Santa himself told me the story,' Lindsay told Norman Rockwell in a double-page feature for the New Yorker, 'so I stole it, and then killed him so he wouldn't be able to sue.'

While many assumed that Lindsay was joking, there is no doubt that Santa has not been seen since he posed for a Kellog's poster in Manhattan in 1937. Nevertheless, to the merriment and delight of adults and children everywhere, Santa's Christmas Eve Blues survives to this day, and has become a perennial Christmas classic, to rival A Christmas Carol and Will Ferrell's Elf.

Click on the image to read the story and share in Santa's special magic.


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