(because iPads weren’t invented yet)

This Is Wiltshire: We didn’t get fancy presents at Christmas... We didn’t get fancy presents at Christmas...

A FIFTH of children are ignorant of the true meaning of Christmas, according to Church of England charity The Children’s Society.

Among the findings of a survey it commissioned was that nine per cent of youngsters think December 25 is the birthday of Father Christmas.

I think the charity is worrying unduly. Every kid knows the true meaning of Christmas and always has. They just get a bit confused. I reckon the best bet is for schools to print off handouts with all the pertinent information – something like this: Christmas is the birthday of Jesus, the baby in the manger at your Nativity Play. Yes, we realise the baby in the manger is a doll somebody found in the lost property box and swaddled in a length of curtain material, but try to imagine a real baby.

Things in the real Nativity happened more or less in the same order as they do in the Nativity Play but weren’t recorded on smartphones by the participants’ parents.

Baby Jesus was also grown-up Jesus, who did miracles and was a nice man. If you want to know what he looked like, Google an actor called Robert Powell and imagine him a bit younger and with long hair and a beard.

Jesus is 2013 years old. If you find that confusing, just wait until we get to the bit in RE where he’s also God and the Holy Spirit.

Christmas is also the time of year when lots of grown-ups like to talk about the true meaning of Christmas being lost. We like to tell you about Christmas in our day being a magical, twinkling time of innocence, simple presents, gratitude and the comfort of knowing that it’s better to give than to receive. All we got, we’ll tell you, was a modest stocking of toys, some fruit and perhaps a low-denomination coin.

This is, of course, complete nonsense. We threw screaming tantrums until we extracted a promise from your Grandma and Grandad that we’d get an Evel Knievel set, a Tiny Tears, a Castle Greyskull, a Cabbage Patch Kid, a Thunderbirds Tracy Island or whatever else we’d seen advertised on the telly or found in the Argos catalogue.

We also fought your aunts and uncles like mortal enemies over everything from batteries to who got the first pick of the Quality Street.

We’re telling you the truth when we say we didn’t have fancy games consoles and tablets and things like that, but only because they hadn’t been invented yet.

Something else we’ll tell you is that we didn’t spend all of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in front of the telly. We would have done if we’d had several hundred channels to choose from like you. Instead we only had three or four and they were mostly rubbish.

We didn’t go out to play in sub-zero temperatures for the good of our health, I can tell you, but it was better than watching Digby the Biggest Dog in the World yet again or seeing some second-rate celebrities ‘cheering up’ the unfortunate inmates of a children’s ward.

Apart from that the only other TV programmes were grown-up ones such as the news, which always seemed to include some ancient people aged 35 or more talking about how commercialised Christmas had become and how it was better in the old days.

<li> THE emergency services and other safety organisations have united to bring us their annual rolling programme of excellent festive safety advice.

Simple but eminently sensible tips include avoiding cheap and nasty Christmas tree lights and not leaving newly-bought presents in unattended cars.

I’d just like to add my own handy hint: Sellotape pillows to the hard edges of furniture to minimise impact and injury if you happen to bump into or trip over it. Pillows attached to coffee tables are especially handy if you’re too tired to get to bed or the stairs are suddenly a bit daunting.


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