Ah lads. We'd actually give anything to be a kid again at Christmas. You get a load of free prezzies off family (and sometimes neighbours if you're lucky) as well as - if you were a good boy or girl - the 3 or 4 presents you asked from the big man.
While your parents were stressing out about cooking the dinner, buying all the presents in time and the decorating of the house, younger you had your own shite going on.
In late November/early December, a white sheet of paper was handed in front of you and your mission was simple, write a list of things that you wanted from Santa.
Woah, woah, woah. Hold the phone.
You don't just throw these things down on paper. You need to brainstorm, gather a list of at least 20 possible items and narrow it down to 3 or 4. One piece of paper? What am I going to write my three draft lists on? The wall?
I suppose we'll chalk something down just to make a start.
Like butter wouldn't melt
Calling him Santy sounds all sweet and innocent. "Oh, look at me I'm only seven, sure I couldn't be bold." If we distract him with our cuteness, hopefully he'll look past the fact that we've asked for nearly €400 worth of stuff this Christmas.
"How are you? Hope Mrs Claus is well."
Just going through the formalities now. This is a trait that we bring with us throughout our life. You know, when you meet someone from school in the street and you don't really care but you always ask "how's the wife/himself and how are the kids keeping?" it's just polite. We really do feel for Mrs Claus though. Her husband works all year round and then on Christmas Day - the one day he has off in the year - he fecks off around the world.
"I have left milk and cookies for you and carrots for Rudolph."
Look, Santy. I'm not too impressed that I have to forfeit one of my cookies and a glass of milk over to you just because you're delivering the goods.
What's worse, you didn't even eat the whole cookie last year. What's a person supposed to do with half a cookie? Huh?
Honestly though, the carrots, you fire away and take as much as them for Rudolph as you want. They're in the bottom shelf beside the cooker, can't miss them.
Hate those things. Yuck.
"I have been really good this year."
This is awkward.
What do you define as good exactly, Santy?
Okay, the only reason I told mam to feck off was because she wouldn't let me watch The Simpsons until I finished my homework AND my sister deserved to get that slap to the nose, she was annoying the shite out of me.
I'm sorry I burst my brother's football with the knife and I now realise that it wasn't that funny to write 'loser' in pen on his new Manchester United jersey.
I've cursed too. Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe 23 times this year, who's counting? They're only the little curses though like 'feck' and 'shite', they don't really count at all.
So, all in all I've been pretty good?
I hope the evidence that I present to you today Santy will not affect the overall outcome.
"If you don't mind, I'd like this for Christmas."
Now we're getting to the good stuff.
By "if you don't mind", I mean "you better bring me these items or else" and by "I'd like" I mean "I want, I must have and I will get".
Okay, so now that we have that all cleared up, Santy. Let's get down to business...
* Proceeds to list out loads of things that they know are way too expensive and more than they deserve to get...
Feck it, you're as well to chance your arm while you can. You know what they say, 'don't ask, don't get'.
But, no matter what you asked for, whether it was two things or 22 things, the presents list always ended the same.
"And. A. Surprise."
The surprise was essential to the list. The list felt almost naked without it. Sometimes you'd stick down a surprise because you genuinely wanted to wake up on Christmas Day to an unknown present from Santa. But, most of the time, you wrote "and a surprise" because you ran out of present ideas but still wanted to push the big man to see how much stuff you could get out of him.
"Thanks Santy. You are the best."
The closing of the letter is just as vital as the opener. You're after banging off a list of stuff to SC so you need to let him know that you appreciate him. Much like the 'hope you're keeping well', this is just being nice, you don't have to actually mean it.
Always stuck this on the end of a letter. It made us sound very fancy and sophisticated. We opted for the 'sincerely' more often than not because the 'faithfully' sounded very weird and possessive.
The North Pole."
No street name, no house number, no Eircode, nothing.
Santy, you're some man for one man. Until next year.