Dear Santa,

Thanks so much for doing your best to deliver gifts to the children here in Sri Lanka last night but, as I’m sure you found out to your amazement, the ‘no-fly- zone’ declared over many parts of the country would have been most effective in keeping you, along with your trusty reindeer Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen away from the range of the anti-aircraft guns and other assorted missiles that were focused on blasting any suspicious flying object to smithereens. Besides that, providing the gunners with venison for Christmas lunch would have been unthinkable, so although thousands of children had to do without your visit this year, we do understand and can only hope that next year will be different.

Having said all that, you will be glad to hear that many folk here still do try to keep that fast- disappearing spirit of Christmas alive. Many of our friends got themselves Christmas trees and although some of them were rather stressed with having to decorate them in time and get all the presents wrapped and stashed under the trees, the excitement that never fails to generate that ‘Christmas feeling’ in the children, made it all worthwhile – for some.

For the others, who also celebrate Christmas but who live under the constant threat of death and destruction, the spirit of Christmas is virtually dead. No Christmas trees for them – in fact, the children in those parts would be lucky to even get a faint whiff of that ‘spirit of Christmas’. And as the fighting continues in those parts, the steady stream of the sound of ambulance sirens cuts through the Christmas carols and other festive music in many of the homes in Colombo. There must be many casualties on both sides, so ‘Christmas’ must surely be the last thing on the minds of their families. Too bad you can’t fly out of range of those guns and heat-seeking missiles and bombard them with gifts – get their minds off the killing and destruction.

Anyways, be that as it may – we’re keeping fingers crossed that you will not give up on us and will give it another try next year so that the children will keep your spirit alive and well. And if you do have a direct line of communication with The Boss, do put in a word for all of us, particularly for the children, that all the darkness and evil elements will be banished from this land and the rest of us peace-loving folk can get on with our lives.

Maybe you will be able to manage a miracle and give us the greatest gift of all for next year – the gift of love and peace and harmony that will pervade the very fabric of this beautiful land. Do give it a try – for the sake of the children.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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