It gives me no pleasure to have to bring this to your attention but I have some alarming news about Santa's business practices over the festive season.
It is alleged, according to my niece's maths homework, that Santa sells on all of the goodies that are left out for him on Christmas Eve.
It would appear that the going rate for mince pies is 20p, the glasses of sherry fetch 40p each and even the carrots have a market value of 5p each. From the income raised, Santa pays out for wrapping paper, gift tags and sellotape. He also has to pay wages to his elves for their efforts.
This information has been leaked by one of the elves who believe that Santa makes enough profit to give his employees a small increase in wages.
Now, that's all well and good in today's financial environment, everyone has to make sure their business affairs are in order but what troubles me the most is that I normally leave Santa something special to warm him up on his long journey.
It might be an aged Fullers Vintage or a Struise Black Damnation; something strong and dark that he won't get in anyone else's house and hopefully something so rare that he will remember me fondly throughout the year and with anticipation when returning to my chimney each year.
Now I am most disappointed to learn that he does not drink the beer but merely flogs it off to the highest bidder.
I know that this has some basis in fact because I saw last year's offering recently in the fridge at the Euston Tap. A 75cl, wired and corked bottle of Gift of the Magi from Lost Abbey Brewery in California. One of the treasures from my beer cupboard, left out for Santa's enjoyment but unceremoniously fenced off to one of London's leading beer bars. The price at the Euston Tap was approaching £30 but one cannot blame the high price on the good people there. They have merely suffered an extra leg in the supply chain and have to price accordingly. Hopefully someone will see the value there over the festive season and thoroughly enjoy what Santa has missed.
This year I am going to open, drink and enjoy a bottle of Cantillon St Lamvinus while wrapping the presents and leave a glass of cheap sherry out for Santa.