Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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December 20, 1996

Clive Gresham
Chief Sorting Bloke
Dead Letter Office
Fishampton, ----shire

Dear Mum,

'ere's the latest of the funny ones. I thought they might give you a larf. Give Nance a cuff for me and merry christmas.


Dear Santa Claus,

Why should I ask you for a Christmas gift? I am already blessed with the promise of Penelope Windsor-Smythe to become Mrs. Colin Bates. Is that not the greatest gift that a knight of the realm could ask?

You don't know, sir, how I awaken in the morning, flushed and rigid with anticipation, aching for release--aching to shout to the world how Penelope will one day be mine! You don't know, sir, how I lie awake at night, restlessly moving beneath the sheets, thinking of the day when SHE will lie beside me as my wife.

In short, my every waking moment, my every thought, my every stirring inch has HER as its only focus. I need no more, sir.

Sir Colin Bates

Picture: Nothing Like a Scrummy Boar's Head for Din, Is There, Dear?Dear, dear, dear, dear, Santa,

I do think it was too horrid of you to grant my last year's most fervent Christmas wish months after it was any good to me. My engagement to Colin had already been settled when I heard that sweet darling Prince Charles was free of cousin Diana's clutches. That particular branch of her family have always been yobbos, if you ask me. But as the diamond ring and tiara set that Colin gave me was of adequate (though not extraordinary) size, I will not scold you too hotly.

I shall not require my annual addendum to my Great British Peerage Lick and Stick Stamp Collection. I am a little girl no longer, and must give up Licking and Sticking. Besides, I've rather gone off Princes. I am an engaged woman, a future bride, and ninetieth in line for the throne. I must learn to settle for practical gifts.

Therefore, when you deliver my supply of shampoo for the year, Santa, please lecture the Convent Ste. Marie and tell them that their last batch of Penelopepoo (how pleasant it is to have a product named after oneself!) did not meet one's requirements for one's daily hair regimen. I understand that it takes the entire convent of forty nuns ten months out of the year to make the shampoo, and that I am their only client. Therefore, I should truly hate to see them return to begging for alms in the streets of the Ukraine merely because they once again forgot the extract of wild gooseberry in the Penelopepoo to give my hair the necessary lustre.

Additionally, Colin accidentally gave the Bentley a scratch on the boot. One half centimetre! I shall require a new car. Preferably a 1936 silver convertible Bentley, the exact same as my ruined one.

You are a dear, Santa. Many kisses.

Penelope Windsor-Smythe

Dear Santa,

Anything, anything, anything except another spittoon. Dear God in heaven, anything but that.

Not so serenely,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Dear Mr. Kringle, or Claus, or whatever you're calling yourself this year,

One must admit that one still harbours a particular distress over your 'democratic' letter-writing policy. After all, you invite anyone with even the most rudimentary of literary skills to send off their rubbishly little 'gimmee' letters to the North Pole. For all I know, this exquisitely penned missive, written on an exclusive line of hand-made papers heavy in content with linen, might be affixed to a toffee-sticky letter scribbled on 'Ziggy' stationery. One shudders at the thought.

One doubts that there is anything you can supply that I cannot buy of superior quality, so one will keep one's Christmas wish list to a minimum. One merely wishes for:

1) Peace on earth good will toward men and all that rot.

2) Four point three tons of common sense and intelligence. One has calculated that if distributed evenly among one's readers (who are legion), each would receive an ounce apiece.

3) Maid For Pain III: Scullery Scamps. The Society of Baronets cancelled the edition one had on order.

4) What else can a man ask for but the contentment of his own family, and that of his readers? The former is assured, of course. One's family is devoted to one. But one is aware that one's extended family of readers is devoted to one as well--in a trusting, simple, puppy-dog like way--and therefore, Mr. Claus, one requests that you would bestow upon them all the wishes their hearts desire. (As long as it befits their station in life, of course.)

Still rather peeved that one did not receive the autographed photograph of Shirley Temple one requested of you when one was a lad, one still remains for yet another Christmas,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Ma'am, Can You Identify Your Wassailant?

Eliza writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

It all seems futile to me, Christmas. Every year it's the same thing. The tired old decorations. The greeting cards we all throw away New Year's Day. The cats choking on the tinsel.

But the presents are the worst of it. I mean, here I'm expected to go out into the overcrowded, germ-laden stores and hope that some manufacturer somewhere has burped out the exact misshapen length of cloth or lump of plastic or sizzling electronic whatsit that will transform my loved ones from their normal sullen take-me-for-granted selves into happy blissful souls, full of the spirit of the season, and brimming with more good will than Mother Teresa.

Bah, humbug. Manufacturers train us to hope for things we don't want or need, and then when that Bowdazzler or that Chia Head don't make us live happily ever after, we start pawing through the circulars hoping for that next great thing to spend our money on. Even Pavlov couldn't make us salivate any more, by the time Christmas rolls around every year.

Anyway, what do you do about presents in your household?

Hoping for your advice,

Sir Charles replies:


My, my, but someone has been sucking on the sour end of the candy cane.

However, to a certain extent, one sympathizes with the correspondent. One thought this year to break tradition and buy one's lovely wife, the Lady Felicia, an unusual gift to befit the season. After all, is not variety the slice of life? But hist, that was not quite right. Lice of life? Slice of wife? Trice of . . . at any rate, there is nothing wrong with a little variety, once in a while.

So during a visit to London for business, one noticed a vast number of people milling about before one of those rubbishy discount stores. Harrods, one thinks it was. On a lark, one was attempting to find the Ladies Foundation Garments section, when one caught the eye of a most tempting and lovely young filly. Oh yes, how she regarded one frankly, eyeing one up and down, and up and down, until one felt quite undressed by her eyes. Naturally, one could understand her wanton attraction. A handsome, debonair baronet in Harrods stands out as plainly as an oasis in a hot stretch of barren desert.

One attempted to wander away from the bold gaze of this lascivious jade, but she followed one. Like the stalking cat its prey, she followed one, darting from rack to rack with her eyes unwavering upon their goal. One darted. One dashed. One turned. One was cornered! Hopelessly cornered, between a pyramid of Tickle Me Elmos, whatever they might be, and a His and Hers scent display! One turned to find the wench smiling triumphantly--almost cruelly. One threw up one's hands. "Have your way with me, seducing strumpet!" one cried with a silent prayer. "But remember, I give my body to you unwillingly!"

The girl looked puzzled, then held up the sweater she was carrying. Opening her vixen-painted lips, she lisped, "I only thought you were about me grand-dad's size, sir."

Well, one never did get that gift for the Lady Felicia, after the constables escorted one out. How fortunate for oneself that she is a creature of habit, and loves her Christmas commemorative spittoons.

Somewhat vainly hoping that one has made a point, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Le Pamplemousse writes:

Dear Monsieur Charles,

J'ai un problem . . . My boyfriend had this gathering du Noel that I so humbly could not attend . . . The next day, mon ami Leonardo told me that my garcon was in his chamber with another girl . . . When I inquired him about it he told me they were arguing about the taste of the quiche . . . I do not know what to believe but since that night I am ever so triste . . . I can not eat anything so thus I have dropped to the weight of 44 kg.


Le Pamplemousse

Sir Charles replies:

Oo la la, you Garlicky Frenchy,

Un regrets qui un has petit to zippo interest in the problem de vous, especially when un knows that no matter what un tells vous, vous will have one of those wine-drenched, a la mode dinners that le Frogs are so famous for and forget every petit piece of advice un gave.

Why don't vous and your amore just slap each other around a bit, or whatever it is you Aloutte-singing Frenchies do.

Wishing the correspondent a zhwah-yoo Noel, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

And now, a family Christmas Classic, from the pen of Sir Charles Grandiose. . . .

Picture: Good Saint Nick. A Personal Friend of One's.

Virginia writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says 'If you see it in Advice From Sir Charles Grandiose it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Malley
115 West Ninety-fifth Street
New York City

Sir Charles replies:

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been boonswoggled by watching too much 'Oprah'.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists to bring the children of the titled and the gentry copious amounts of expensive, tasteful gifts that they deserve by right of blood and class. Not believe in Santa Claus! Why, every blue-blooded youth knows that Santa Claus exists, and flourishes with every passing year!

Santa can, however, make only so many stops on his busy night, and only at the nicest manors. Judging from your address, Virginia, yours will not be among them. One suspects you will have to make do with your father in a flame-retardant red suit of unnatural fibers. One doubts he will need the extra padding.

Poetically, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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