I’ve always admired families who do Kris Kringle (aka Secret Santa) – they’re usually the ones with 10 or more children where it’s economically and temporally impossible for everyone to get everyone else a present. With just one present each Kris Kringle seems to restore a kind of sanity back to Christmases – anyone who has witnessed a 3 year old throwing a Christmas-present-fatigue tantrum will understand.

I also love the Brothers Grimmish European tradition of Belsnickle; a mythical being who gives gifts to children who have behaved well but distributes lumps of coal (even more meaningful in a climate change era) to children who have misbehaved. The whole Belsnickle program has typically sensible Northern European in-built limits to growth; gifts are placed in shoes or stockings naturally restricting extravagance (although children with very small feet may rightly feel hardly done by).

Of course in the internet app age there are tools to help Kris Kringlers should you want to embrace the tradition. These sites boast features ensuring nobody will draw their own name (a constant danger) and options to make sure estranged relatives will never be in the situation of gifting each-other poison laced Christmas puddings or stuffed toys containing contraband just before a holiday in Bali.  More … 


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