Tonight you will put up the stockings, Santa Claus will arrive on his sleigh drawn by reindeer to slide down your chimney in his trademark red suit with a sack over his shoulder, and tomorrow you will open presents under your decorated Christmas tree, eat turkey and mince pies, and promise yourself that next year you won't leave it until the last weekend to write your Christmas cards, because it is Christmas, and it is traditional. But do you know how old these "traditions" actually are? Some are ancient, some are newer than you think.
So should I believe in Father Christmas?
* If he doesn't exist, why did parents riot when a pilot recently refuse to fly them to Lapland?
* What about the letter to S. Claus from Inland Revenue, querying his claim for travelling expenses?
* There are 300,000 living organisms yet to be classified – couldn't one be a reindeer that can fly?
* Santa would need to visit 896 homes a second to fill all the stockings
* Only Kathy Staff, the actress who played Nora Batty, really knew how to fill a stocking, and she has just died
* When Chico Marx was told to sign a clause that would prove he was sane, he rightly said: "You don't fool me: there is no Sanity Clause"