The idea that only the well-behaved get presents goes back to an old German custom where an adult dressed up as St Nick and distributed small gifts to "good" children.
Santa underwent the full transformation from child rescuer and occasional gift-giver to behavioural watchdog with the 1934 pop classic "Santa Claus is Coming To Town":
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness' sake
He may be known as Father Christmas, but his proliferation on every-high street, rattling tins or staked out in grotto-land, tends to prove the contention that he is slowly turning into Big Brother.
20 DecemberReuse content