Dear Santa: Some image counselling for the worst-dressed seasonal icon

Look, I know this is a busy time for you. The last thing you need is to be plagued by yet another wheedling, simpering Oh-please-Santa-can-I-have sort of letter. But bear with me. I want to give you something. Advice.

It concerns your presentation, your dress sense, or lack of it. When did you last have a makeover? In the mid-19th century?

Santa, you're a prominent guy. OK, so it's centre stage only once a year, but what a stage] Other celebrities would kill for it. You have to milk it. What you need is a business adviser, a sartorial sidekick. Rudolph's kind of cute, but when it comes to knowing what's hip, he's about as much use as a sockful of reindeer droppings.

The thing is, Red or Dead is a fashion label, not a threat. Honestly. It's fine from time to time but, well, kids these days, they chill out younger. Peau Douce to Mothercare to Baby Gap to junior Comme des Garons and Nike Air Jordans. Seven years old and they are dudes. In black and shades of grey. It's not so easy to pull the cotton wool over their eyes. You have to get out of pharmaceuticals and into ready-to-wear. Get some street-cred. Improve your shelf-life.

With your exposure, all the big names will be tripping over themselves to dress you. Imagine yourself in Jean Paul Gaultier: flowing red gown, thigh-high black leather boots, see-through body stocking. No? Something a little more restrained? You could try Armani; others have. You might even be able to write it off against tax.

This upbeat new image will bring its own rewards. Fed up with stale mince pies and the dregs of last year's Croft Original? You could look forward to an altogether better class of scoff: Canapes and Mot et Chandon, tapas and vintage port, petit fours and a satisfyingly chilled finger or two of Chteau d'Yquem.

Then there's appearance money, sponsorship deals. You are putting yourself about too much. Next thing they'll be asking you to do Panto. Rein in a bit. We'll up the ante. Play your cards right and we'll have you on a jet-powered sleigh in no time at all. Think of it. No more hay, no more mucking out. And best of all, no more Jingle Bells] But take care over the logos: too much graffiti and you'll end up looking like a cross between Nigel Mansell and a Scrabble board. That's a serious charisma bypass.

One final thing. Pack a change of kit. You are a global phenomenon. Half the hemisphere is sweltering at this time of year. The prospect of you swanning down Down-Under chimneys in full winter rig, sleigh parked on the hot tin roof in 40C heat, beggars belief even for a four-year-old. So get out your baggies, T-shirts and flip-flops. Wax up that board. Ride in on the wild surf. Yeeeeehaa] Hang ten, hang loose.

Oh, and Santa - Merry Christmas]

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