Day one:

The meeting has gone reasonably well. Being a nice sort of person, I try to wrap it up with a big old positive.

“And of course if there’s anything I can help you out with – anything at all – then please do feel free to ask,” I conclude.

“Anything at all. Whatsoever,” I add.

A face pokes in through the doorway to the Staff Room. “We have a problem,” says the face to the Headmistress. “We’re going to need somebody to help out.”

Day two:

“You do not appear,” I mutter grimly to the LTLP, “to be being particularly supportive.”

The LTLP rolls around on the floor, laughing helpfully. I stand with hands on hips, attempting to regain control of the situation. But my beard slips slightly, and I have to try to fit it into position once more.

“I don’t see how I can keep this straight whilst I talk,” I complain.

“Try practising the ‘ho ho ho’s again,” she suggests.


I stride back to the mirror. There has been no miraculous transformation since I adjusted my beard. I do not look like Father Christmas. I look like me, in a Father Christmas costume.

“I think it might be the hat that’s the problem,” she ventures.

The LTLP is possibly right. Santa Claus has a big red hood that sort of obscures everything about him but his eyes and the beard. This costume does not come with a hood, but with a red hat that I strongly suspect was meant for elves. I pull it down as far as it will go, but my own non-Santa-type hair is still very visible at the sides.

“It won’t matter,” she says, a small pool of wee forming on the floor beneath.

“It will matter,” I insist. “The only reason that they want me to do this is because the children were starting to suspect that the previous Santa was not Santa after all. So they needed somebody new so that they would really believe it was Santa.”

“No pressure then,” she replies.

My beard has now fallen at a forty-five degree angle. I wrestle it back into place, and try a few more variations on the ‘ho ho ho’ theme. There is nothing I want more than for the local kids to have a brilliant Christmas party with loads of presents and Father Christmas, except for that Father Christmas not to be me.

Day three:

The worst blizzards in living memory blanket Norfolk, causing massive disruption to local services. All the schools suffer emergency closures. The children have to stay at home, and miss their long-awaited Christmas party with loads of presents and Father Christmas. Finally, I am involved in a story with a happy ending.

19 thoughts on “Details of the new job I got before Christmas.

  1. I don’t know about a happy ending, but it’s certainly a dodged bullet for the poor little kiddies. Can’t think of any upside to forcing impressionable youngsters into close proximity with a saggy loser like you. Do they really need to know so early how cruel life and nature can be?

  2. Gail says:

    My realisation that Santa wasn’t real came from exactly this! At a school party, aged about 5, I could see Santa’s blue workshirt poking out of his white collar, and all of a sudden…. Best you didn’t make it, JonnyB. Let them believe the magic for a bit longer.

  3. Sam says:

    That would be pretty cool if your private secret real life alter ego was actually Santa though.

    Would Santa live in Norfolk when he hasn’t got anything to do in the North Pole?

  4. Megan says:

    A Christmas Miracle!

    Although may I say that as an impressionable (and gullible) 5 yr old I was thoroughly terrified by a department store Father Christmas and would have been relieved had his beard suddenly slipped to show a perfectly normal, non-child-eating person beneath. Clowns had nothing on Father Christmas in my book.

    Granted… a year later and I looked forward for weeks to the delicious thrill of horror that only Father Christmas would bring and it would have been a sad loss had my belief been shattered.

  5. ajb1605 says:

    I think it’s a shame, you would have made a great Santa.

    After all, if we’re to believe Ivan (which we do) you are the perfect shape for the costume.

  6. Good point, well made, ajb1605.

  7. spazmo says:

    That old Santa must have been terrible if the best replacement idea they could come up with was “chubby man with banjo”.

  8. kermit says:

    sorry to be slightly off-topic, but in the spirit of really late christmas internet presents, i thought you might like to read “the teach your chicken to fly training manual”

  9. no plot says:

    Given that Jonny disappears just before Christmas every year and the rumours of his great girth, I’m beginning to think there’s some truth to this Jonny is really Santa theory. He’s just trying to throw us off the scent with his “Can’t pull off a Father Christmas costume” tale.

  10. Blazing says:

    Day three sounds like a result. LTLP sounds as though the streak of evil is deepening 😉

  11. Pat says:

    Better start practising for next year.

  12. AndrewM says:

    Your head’s too Big!

  13. Zed says:

    Santa Claus doesn’t exist? He’s been YOU all along?

    Mercy me :(:(:(:(

  14. Strop says:

    I laughed so much at this that I started to cough… and cough… and cough. So now I need a wee too.

    Although that could be due to the fact that I have a lake of hot Ribena inside me in an attempt to soothe my problematical throat.

  15. guyana gyal says:

    An irreverent Santa song that some children here sing would make you even happier that you got off from that chore.

  16. Clare says:

    Ha just made my evening… love it

  17. JonnyB says:

    Boooooo – I hate it when people LAUGH AT MY MISFORTUNES which is IMPOLITE.

    Hullo Clare and welcome (I think you’re a new Clare, compared to the others)

  18. laura says:

    Oh JB… you’re life has changed so much but your writing still cracks me up. Nice to see you’re still doing the business!

  19. JonnyB says:

    Laura!!! It is good to hear from you again.

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