The Week: Save 58% on the ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ gifts, and other useless information

The Week: Save 58% on the ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ gifts, and other useless information

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The Week: Save 58% on the ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ gifts, and other useless information


Decafnation has searched high and low for some good news this holiday season. And we found it! The 2020 Christmas Price Index has dropped 58.5 percent over last year. Wait, is that good news?

It will cost $22,825.45 less to purchase all the items named in “The 12 Days of Christmas” song this year. The PNC Financial Services Group prices the items every year as a measure of the economy.

The 12 items will cost $16,168.14 this year ($38,993.59 in 2019). Most of the decrease came from the “cancellations of many live performances. It’s a silent night at most symphonies and the lights have dimmed for many dancers this holiday season, which contributes to the year-over-year decline.”

Partridge in a Pear Tree — $210.18 (0.0% change)
Two turtle doves — $450.00 (+50.0%)
Three French hens — $210.00 (+15.7)
Four calling birds — $599.96 (0.0%)
Five golden rings – $945.00 (+14.5%)
Six geese-a-laying — $570.00 (+35.7%)
Seven swans-a-swimming — $13,125 (0.0%)
Eight maids-a-milking — $58.00 (0.0%)
Nine ladies dancing — Not available in 2020
Ten lords-a-leaping — Not available in 2020
Eleven pipers piping — Not available in 2020
Twelve drummers drumming — Not available in 2020
Total — $16,168.14 or $105,561.80 if you count all the repetitions in the song


Some of the dream gifts we hope are under the Comox Valley tree this year include a COVID vaccination for everyone, a regional parks service, a transformed Economic Development service that actually helps all local businesses (not just a special few), fully-functional laboratories in the Courtenay and Campbell River (restored onsite pathologist services), municipal governments with a heightened climate change mentality that results in action on rainwater management, traffic improvements at the 17th Street Bridge, a BC Supreme Court victory for the Mack Laing Heritage Society and an enlightened Comox Council.


But here’s a gift you can give yourself: Passes to the 30th edition of the World Community Film Festival, virtual edition. This year, you can watch films from the comfort of your home at any time during the festival. Audience members can purchase festival passes or tickets for individual films and decide when to watch, in any order, from Feb. 5 through Feb. 13.

It’s “your festival, your way,” says Programmer Janet Fairbanks. “We are excited to be offering a great lineup of international documentary films addressing social and environmental justice, LGBTQ+, Indigenous issues, food security, climate change, music and arts. Bonus features will include interviews with filmmakers and other resource people.


This tree that kept on giving … for two years. A high school teacher in Scotland kept the same Christmas tree up and decorated from 2007 to 2009. After a friend kidded him about still having his tree up by Twelfth Night, he decided to leave it up … for more than 750 days.


From our collection of Lame Christmas jokes, which are not only for kids.

Q: What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
A: It’s Christmas, Eve!

Q: How do you make an idiot laugh on boxing day?
A: Tell him a joke on Christmas Eve!

Q: What do you have in December that you don’t have in any other month?
A: The letter “D”!

Q: What does Father Christmas suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
A: Santa Claustrophobia!

Q: What do you call a letter sent up the chimney on Christmas Eve?
A: Blackmail!

Q: Who delivers a cat’s Christmas presents?
A: Santa Paws!

Q: Why does Father Christmas go down the chimney?
A: Because it soots him!

Q: Who delivers elephants’ Christmas presents?
A: Elephanta Claus!

Q: Why is Santa like a bear on Christmas Eve?
A: Because he’s Sooty!

Q: What is the best Christmas present in the world?
A: A broken drum, you just can’t beat it!


Our favourite Christmas quote:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!” –Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Happy Holidays


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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

The headline from this famous editorial from the Editorial Page of New York Sun in 1897 is well-known. The actual letter is less well-known, and neither is the back story about the editorial writer and the letter writer. We reprint the letter here, and below it the story of Virginia  O’Hanlon and Frank Church.



We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view andpicture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus?Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was an immediate sensation, and became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897, almost a hundred years ago, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

” ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’ I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ “

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, “Endeavour to clear your mind of cant.” When controversial subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.