It's not called the silly season for nothing, but this silliness really takes the Christmas cake.

Santa's been sacked. Yes, the Santa who has delighted thousands of people young and old in Auckland's Christmas Parade has been sent to the naughty corner.

His crime — he told the truth, he wasn't naughty or indeed trying to be nice. Neville Barker actually said he wouldn't hire a woman to play Father Christmas and for his honesty he's off the sleigh.

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Now I know very well that women can do anything they jolly well put their mind to but Santa is a man and the tooth fairy is a woman.

Why do we have to play around with traditions like these that began in the fourth century with a Bishop called St Nicholas. He was a very rich man who lived in what we now call Turkey. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret presents to people in need.

There are lots of stories about St Nick — the main theme of them, though, is that he liked to help people less fortunate than himself.

That's a nice legend.

Everyone has their own Christmas family traditions and each generation adds to or maybe alters them to suit. The Christmases of today would be unrecognisable to those that celebrated them just 100 years ago.

Instead of stockings filled with oranges, there are computer games that would make their eyes boggle.

Of course not everyone gets presents at Christmas. Some people don't believe in it and some people can't afford it. I think it's really important for the children who will wake on Christmas morning to gifts and delicious food to understand that there are people not as lucky as them.

It's the perfect time to clean out the toy cupboard and book shelves and donate to the Hawke's Bay Today Christmas Cheer Appeal.


I digress — back to Santa — oh yes the parade which should have taken place on Sunday was postponed due to bad weather — could that be a sign?

Let's just leave Santa alone — he's got a lot of work to do at the moment and this is all very distracting.

As for Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer, there have already been rumours in years gone by that he is actually a she. In 2009 two Edinburgh university professors said Rudolf couldn't be a male because male reindeer shed their antlers before mid-December while females still have theirs at Christmas time.

Well, guess what — Christmas has got nothing to do with science — there is magic in the air and if Rudolf can have a very shiny nose to guide the sleigh he can certainly still have antlers.

Just a wee word of warning about the magic of Christmas. I was astounded to learn that $7 million was spent in Hawke's' Bay on Friday 24 (dubbed Black Friday). Yes you read that right ... $7 million. The sale went on all weekend of course and was still going on in some stores early in the week.

That's a lot of money. But I guess there are two ways of looking at it. There were some great bargains to be had and lots of people took advantage of it.

Black Friday is an American tradition linked to Thanksgiving which is held on the fourth Thursday of November. The following day is meant to signify the Christmas shopping season.

Well, I guess there is a season for everything and there seems to be a day for everything from Ice Cream Breakfast Day to International Talk like a Pirate Day and now it looks like we have a "On your marks, get set, go — shopping day".

It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of glitter and trifle. The trick is to remember that come January the bills are still going to keep rolling in while we pack away the tinsel.

I love Christmas — only 26 sleeps to go.

Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.