I hope you are having a fantastic Advent.
Thank you for your letter. I must say I have really taken a lot of pleasure reading your letters over the years and seeing the things you asked for. I got a real laugh from the one you sent last year about Kylie Minogue. Mrs Christmas said that you are obviously very mature for your years and that it wasn't appropriate for a 12 year old.
I've noticed that your lists have got shorter recently. That's okay as Mrs Christmas says its a sign of maturity. I'm not sure what that says about me, as my list is always long.
Anyhow, as one of my more loyal writers I'm writing a reply this year. (Don't worry, you'll still get gifts from me as always. This is extra.)
Steve, I'm writing to say that I'm not able to give you what you've asked for. I know that this will be disappointing for you, but you'll agree that is not unprecedented - I refer you back to your earlier Kylie request and the petition you made for no more brussel sprouts. (I know you won't believe me, but trust me on this, they really aren't that bad and it's only once a year.)
But I'm referring here to this year's request about your granddad.
First can I say that your granddad and I have known each other for a very long time. His lists tend to be very short indeed and I've had the pleasure of replying on more than one occasion. I count him as a friend. So it's no easy thing for me to write these words.
It is not within my gifts to hold back the wear of his many years and to prevent him from coming to the end of this life.
He has filled his life with significance and carefully considered kindness. I'm sure you'll agree that his has been a full life. You've only heard a fraction of his tales and those you have heard would be enough for any man to die happy. The painful truth is that he's now coming to the close of his earthly life with his family and friends.
One of the reasons I'm writing is to ask you to do something for him, something that will mean the world to him and will be of great value to you too.
Ask your dad to buy a simple voice recorder. One of those digital ones with a long memory. Tell him what it's for and he won't refuse you. Take it to your granddad and use it to record his stories; pepper him with questions, let him recount his tales.
You might even leave the recorder with him so he can continue after you've gone to bed - he doesn't sleep very much these days anyway.
You will create for yourself a treasure trove of his memories and give him the pleasure of saving the highlights (and perhaps the low points) of his long life.
Thank you. Stories are important, especially true stories.
Now before I sign off, Mrs Christmas asked me to tell you that with regard to this year's request concerning Beyonce, it's not going to happen. You'll just have to content yourself with your downloads.
God Bless you,
Record conversations with your mum, your dad, your grandparents. You won't regret it.