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Switzerland

Does Santa Exist? A Case For Telling Kids The Truth — And Keeping The Lie

According to new psychology research, lying to kids about the subject of Santa Claus risks ruining their confidence and altering the parent-child relationship.

What do you want for Christmas?
What do you want for Christmas?
Julie Rambal

GENEVA — The ritual has been respected for 60 years now. Each December, Switzerland's official postal service assigns five employees to respond to thousands of letters from children addressed to Santa Claus. "We send them a note and a present," says Nathalie Dérobert, spokeswoman for La Poste. And yes, to maintain the magic, the letters purport to come from Santa's helpers.

The letters come from all over Switzerland, even some from abroad, and they are increasing — an estimated 18,700 are expected this year. While everything else seems to have gone digital, the handwritten letter to Santa Claus is a tradition that is still holding strong. Of course, many of the kids' letters have been prompted and encouraged by their parents who tell of a fat man dressed in red ready to twist his belly down the chimney to spread goodies around the Christmas tree. The ritual and family joy is at the center of the holiday warmth in households around the world.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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