If you’ve ever wondered where Santa fits in to the whole commercialisation of Christmas debate: Working class hero or corporate stooge? Then One Thousand Christmas Beards is the book for you.
Roger Duvoisin, author of Petunia’s Christmas, brings us a Santa who is both befuddled and enraged by the festive jamboree. The objects of his ire are the countless false Santas peddling their wares on streets and in stores all across the world.
Santa rages to Mrs Santa about the impostors stealing his image for grubby commercial gain. ‘By my own real beard, I’ll put an end to those false Santas! There is only one Santa Claus, and that’s me!’
So he takes to the streets, filled with the spirit not so much of Christmas but of Charles Bronson in Death Wish, violently ripping the beards off their faces. Finally he has an entire sledge full of fake beards, which he piles up, gift wraps and presents to Mrs Santa. She is appalled, ‘Santa you cruel man, did you kill all those false Santas who wore those false beards?’
I rather like the idea that she believes him capable of such an atrocity. It suggests a much darker past for Santa, perhaps he’s haunted by the spectre of a festive holocaust from Christmas past?
Mass murderer or anti corporate anarchist? Whatever his past, Santa has mellowed. He concedes that selling out a bit at Christmas is unavoidable, and so decides to send the false Santas back their beards along with a packet of sweets.