As Christmas rapidly approaches, is there anyone busier than Santa Claus himself? With tongue firmly in cheek, Express got the man in red to sit down for a moment and tell us how he thinks island life could be improved.
He had lots of ideas, from his many years spent flying to and from the Channel Islands but we managed to get him to narrow it down to just five things that Father Christmas would change about Guernsey.
1) Earlier bedtimes for all!
Not just on Christmas Eve, but other times during the year when the reindeer drop me off for a visit, I find that there are many youngsters up very late - now that is ok, but on December 24, I really would like it if the good boys and girls of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou and Breqhou could make sure they're tucked up in bed at a reasonable time.
It's purely for selfish reasons of course, as it makes it much easier for my elves and I to drop off gifts to any children who have made my good list if we can do it all in one go. In years gone by this was much easier as we'd fly over from France, landing near the airport using the runway lights to guide us, before delivering to all the houses in Guernsey then stop off in the other islands before heading to the UK.
But since more people got smart phones and tablets we find many young people are staying up very late - so please, just for this one night can you put them down and get some sleep so we can deliver your gifts. It also means you'll be ready to get up bright and early! And we all know that Christmas Day starts as soon as the first person wakes up!
2) Tidy bedrooms!
While we're on the subject of bedrooms, can we please request they are all tidy before we come to the Bailiwick?
One year an Elf tripped on a discarded toy which had been delivered a year earlier and he had to spend six weeks in plaster and on light duties at the North Pole. A good tip is, if you have toys you don't play with anymore you can box them up and donate them either to charity or leave them for me to take back to the North Pole for the toy team to fix up and regift to younger children next year.
It's all about 'reduce, reuse and recycle' nowadays!
3) Reduce, reuse and recycle...
Speaking of that, I do think everyone can make an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Some Christmas lists are so long - and they've got even longer since children are now able to email me their wishes. I will always bring what I can, but please do be aware that it is better to have one gift you really want and will definitely play with or use, than a whole bag of toys that may be forgotten about quickly.
It also saves on old Rudolph's back when he's leading the sleigh.
4) More Guernsey produce please!
One of my favourite parts of Christmas Eve is getting so many treats that are all for me!
I get some shrimps fresh from the barbie in Australia, sushi in Japan, delicious Swiss chocolate as I fly over the Alps, coconut milk in the Caribbean and all sorts of treats as I stop off in Guernsey.
I love mince pies made with real Guernsey butter, that Fort Grey cheese is delicious with some crackers, a nice cold glass of Guernsey milk, a Caragh chocolate as I go to Sark and ooooh so many treats I can't even think of them all!
I can't eat too much of the same thing though, as Mrs Claus tells me my tummy gets more and more like a bowlful of jelly every year. So I like to mix it up. Maybe a sausage roll in one house, a mince pie somewhere else, a juicy satsuma would be nice too. To drink I do like a whisky or a bottle of beer, but not in every house please as I know Guernsey Police will stop me for a breath test if they see me and I never risk driving my sleigh if I think I might be over the limit, so in some houses a glass of milk, or a cup of tea would be nice.
It really doesn't have to be a special treat or anything fancy though. A glass of nice Guernsey tap water is sometimes just the trick to keep me refreshed on my round the world trip.
The reindeer do like their food too, but they prefer their oats without glitter if possible please!
5) PLEASE be nice to each other!
Every year I have to keep a close eye on everyone to see who should be on the good or bad list.
Sadly, this year in Guernsey I've noticed a trend in people being really quite rude to each other using social media as a means to do that. It's not nice, and if it continues there'll be a number of grown ups on the naughty list in 2019.
Cyber bullying makes me go "no-no-no" rather than "ho-ho-ho" so please let's stop that.
Pictured top: Father Christmas writing his list, and checking it twice, for Bailiwick Express.
In 2019 we're going to mix things up a bit and will be inviting people to tell us their "five things about Guernsey" which can be things you like as well as things you'd change. To submit yours or to find out more, email email@example.com
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