What I want to know is: why do they call it ‘The Holiday Season’? Christmastime is far more tiring than any job I’ve ever had. If I got back from a holiday, feeling as tired as I do at this time of year, I’d want my money back! In fact, I could usually do with a break once the festivities are all over – not that I ever get one!

All in all, I think parents are hardest hit with Christmastime fatigue. There’s just so much to do, nativity plays, carol concerts, fayres, family visits, present wrapping, cooking, cleaning… the list is endless. Any mum or dad will tell you that they’re very glad it’s not, in the words of the song, ‘Christmas every day’!

The only person I can think of who works as hard as mums and dads, at this time of year, is Santa himself. Yes, I know he has the elves to help him, but, even so, it must be exhausting getting all of those presents ready. By the time the big night comes around, I’d bet a good nap is what he needs, not a trip around the globe at the speed of light!

I’ve often thought that Santa must train like an athlete for the rest of year to make sure he’s ready for December, either that or he hibernates to conserve his energy. Recently I got an insight in what Father Christmas actually does to prepare himself, and it’s closer to hibernation than training.

I was in a restaurant when I overheard a conversation between a very enthusiastic little boy and his holiday-fatigued dad:

The boy speaks, while simultaneously chewing on chips and peas.

Boy: And I want a bike.

The dad says nothing – reading his newspaper.

Boy: And an X Box.

Still nothing from the dad.

Boy: And a smartphone.

The dad turns the pages of his newspaper without comment.

Boy: Daddy.

No reply.

Boy: Daddy!

Still no reply.

Dad: What?
Boy: Where does Santa live?

Without looking up from his newspaper, dad speaks.

Dad: Sidmouth.
Boy: OK.

This seems to appease the boy, who takes another forkful of peas.

And there we have it. Santa may spend his winters at the North Pole, but the secret to his success is his long relaxed summers spent on the Devon coast.

Chris McGuire is a Devon-based writer. He wishes you all a very Merry Christmas! @McGuireski

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