The Great Xmas Spoof


By Peter Fredson

This is how a charming myth was hijacked by Christianity and became an imposture. Northern Europe had many evergreen trees and reindeer, along with snow and ice that formed the environmental basis of the myth. People of far northern regions were greatly affected by the seasons, especially when winter seemed to kill most vegetation, made animals go into hiding or hibernation, while ice, cold and snow made life precarious. Long observation of seasonal patterns gave the hope that the winter would eventually turn in springs, when vegetation and animals were plentiful.

Seasonal celebrations for equinoxes and solstices were common. The personification of seasons occurred in many communities, of which a major figure was Father Claus. Details, such as his name and attributes, vary greatly, so do not be disturbed if this version does not match your.

This celebration came during the winter solstice, the season at which the earth makes its shortest journey around the sun. Nordic peoples feared that the sun god was dying as the days grew shorter.  Around December 22nd occurred the shortest days when Nordic peoples would build great fires and kindle lights to encourage the sun to resurrect. Feasting and rejoicing occurred as days grew longer.

People’s happiness that the world was not going to remain frozen, seemingly dead, was reflected by festivities, in which food, drink and gifts were exchanged among villagers. The gifts would be dispensed by a person delegated to impersonate Father Claus.  In countries like Finland he would come in a sleigh propelled by reindeer. Decoration of houses included evergreen trees and red berries, now traditional colors.

Adults knew well that Father Claus was one of the villagers, but the children were told about the hope for Spring in stories that spoke of generosity, honesty and kind deeds, with gifts dependent upon a god-like entity. The elaboration of the myth became high art of story tellers, who added new features and details with each retelling. It became a vital part of the myth to delight the children and to reward them for “being good.” The little children avidly heard the myth: their little hearts beat with excitement, their eyes shown with anticipation, while their faces reflected awe and amazement. They were spoofed by the adults, everyone chuckled at the hoax, and good will reigned.

Eventually reason and logic would creep into childhood lucubrations, doubts would arise, and some adult would confess that the entire affair was staged for dramatic effect. There might still be lingering hope that Claus, magical reindeer, and elves in some cultures, existed as more than metaphor, while the seasons went on their regular rounds, to keep the myth for artistic relief from the long winters.

Details of the myth varied immensely, still do. The myth went around the world as Claus was incorporated into the pantheon of various societies. So we have a Nordic semi-god, dressed in furs, driving reindeer on a sleigh with jingling bells, in evergreen country with heaps of snow and ice, now transplanted to hot desertic countries with practically no trees.

The Romans also observed the solstices by paying homage to Saturn, god of agriculture, with a Saturnalia festival.  It was celebrated for a week to dramatize a Golden Age when Saturn ruled the world.  Men and women paraded with garlands, carrying lighted candles through the streets. giving candles and green wreaths as presents.  Slaves and masters changed roles as class distinctions were erased.  The poor feasted as equals and took part in all the festivities.

Christmas was not a Christian holiday. Christians expropriated the Nordic myth as they did so many others and now claim it for themselves. They took the elements of hope, gift-giving, holly, evergreen trees; reindeer, a fat jolly villager dressed in warm clothes and furs, solstice, with Druid mistletoe, and by fiat declared it to be Christian, but it has no Biblical significance. Christian fanatics converted a pagan myth into an imposture.
Although pagan celebration of the winter solstice was widespread, it was strongly condemned by Christians, although they later adopted the Dec. 25th date, by fiat, for the celebration of the birth of Christ. They surrealistically merged a pagan semi-deity with a Christian deity, to form an amalgam which commercial business finds singularly attractive for its gift-giving aspect.

The story also parallels that of various pre-Christian “savior gods” such as Horus and Mithra, so that several pagan deities besides Father Claus, are now blended with the Christian myth, Persians lit fires to praise Mithra, god of light like the European Yule Log, representing warmth and light against the bitter cold darkness of winter. Latin peoples around 354 A.D. probably transferred the birthday of Christ from Jan. 6 to Dec. 25, which was then a Mithraism feast, the natal is invite soils or birthday of the unconquered Sun of Philocalus

The earliest identification of Dec.25 as Christ’s birthday is in a passage, probably spurious, of Theophilus of Antioch (c. I80), preserved in Latin by the Magdeburg centuriators (i. 3, II8), to the effect that the Gauls declared that as they celebrated the birth of the Lord on Dec. 25, so they ought to celebrate the resurrection on March 25.

Reading Christian Church History is exceedingly boring, but after several centuries of spurious arguments, the date of December 25th was set by fiat, by authority, by church authorities simply stating “Whether or not this really was the date, we don’t know, but we are going to celebrate it on that date.”

So, as Ripley remarked in his successful comic strip and television show, “BELIEVE IT OR NOT.”


“The Mavens’ Word of the Day

Copyright © 2002 Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
“Spoof can be found in slang and informal speech from 1884 on, the earliest senses deriving directly from notions of deceit, trickery, hoaxing, and nonsense. It’s interesting to note that all definitions remain free of the taint of “cheating,” the trickery is more prank than dishonesty for profit. “The House gave the willing tribute of laughter to the fact that it had been ‘spoofed’,” the Daily Mail reported in 1901. The “nonsense” sense flourished until the mid-1900’s, when spoof kept company with other great slang terms for “talk nonsense” such as “ladle out a lot of duck soup,” “footle,” “chew baloney,” “gush goo,” “turn on the gas,” and the sense-defying “go off in a cloud of balloon juice.” Around the 1920’s, spoof acquired the sense of “teasing jokiness.” It is this sense that is foregrounded in the current slang senses of spoof as a noun (“a mocking imitation of someone or something, usually light and good-humored; a lampoon or parody”) and as a verb (“to satirize gently”), as can be seen in this 1981 quote from Safire: “‘Urbababble’…spoofs the lingo of those urbane people in the city business.”

28 thoughts on “The Great Xmas Spoof

  1. Christianity is the great pretender, do they have anything that isn’t plagiarised from another belief system? Even Jesus the so called founder of christianity is just the ancient pagan god Mithras reinvented.

    I see christianity as the Mc Donalds of religion, they go around stealing all the tasty recipes from around the world, and dumbing them down to their own bland formulas.

    That’s not to say that the ethics or moralities of christianity are wrong, of course it is good be compassionate and kind. Just a bit silly when a religion with such a bloody past, (and present) continues to try and convince us that they invented the very morals they so wantonly cast aside in the name of vanquishing those they declare evil.

  2. Better get ready to duck, Peter…
    Actually, lots of Christians don’t celbrate Xmas for exactly those reasons.

    And here’s the inevitable nit from the inveterate nitpicker:

    This celebration came during the winter solstice, the season at which the earth makes its shortest journey around the sun.

    We know what you mean…

  3. The ‘O’ in Christianity stands for ‘Original’

    Many historians suspect that early Christians chose to celebrate Christ’s birth on Dec. 25 to make it easier to convert the pagan tribes. Referring to Jesus as the “light of the world” also fit with existing pagan beliefs about the birth of the sun. The ancient “return of the sun” philosophy had been replaced by the “coming of the son” message of Christianity.

    Christmas celebrations were illegal in some of the original American colonies.  However, many of the pagan ‘Yuletide’ celebrations took place.  Even after being established a Federal Holiday in 1870, Christmas still wasn’t adapted by the majority of Protestant churches.  Now we have Christian Conservatives laying claim to a holiday that was never theirs to begin with. (Hmm…sounds familiar.)

    Remember kids: Jesus is not the reason for the season.

  4. Heh. I don’t think of any part of Christmas as being hijacked by Christians. I’m pretty sure THEY see it the other way around. The parts of Christmas that have to do with Santa, reindeer, etc., are pretty much secular, from their point of view.

    I’m happy there’s all this other stuff. Otherwise, we’d all have to sit around being grim and faithful during this time, lest Jesus-God hear us making merry and come and destroy us.

    Santa does seem like the entry-level drug to Jesus, though. Once you can believe in one magical being who sees and knows all you do, and rewards you for being good, it’s easy to switch over to another.

  5. The ‘O’ in Christianity stands for ‘Original’

    Sir, that is the best comment I have seen all day, someone should nominate that to BlogBites smile

  6. I was at a Christmas celebration thingie last night. I heard a kid behind me tell his friend.

    “But you *have* to believe in Santa Claus, else you won’t get any presents.”…

    It sounds very familiar…

  7. foxy said: Santa does seem like the entry-level drug to Jesus, though.

    He knows when you are sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good, for Goodness’ sake!

  8. I always wondered what Santa Claus has to to with christmas. As far as I know Saint Nicholas (“Santa Claus”) was a church official who saved some children from starvation.For this he was made a saint and is celebrated on his day (Dec. 6th) by children hanging up stockings which their parents fill with sweets overnight. This also accounts for Santa’s invariably red dress as the different levels of christian (read catholic, since all chritians were catholic back then) are colour-coded and red was his level.
    At christmas we get Father Christmas handing out gifts to the good kids and beatings to the bad ones ie you usually got both: a beating for all the bad things you’ve done through the year followed by some presents for the good things you’ve done.
    Father Christmas is dressed in green and only sometimes in red. In some areas the same job is done by Baby Jesus and his personal slave/servant.Either which way Santa Claus never had anything to do with chrismas at all!

  9. Golix, an excellent book for learning more about Santa is Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men: The Origins and Evolution of Saint Nicholas, Spanning 50,000 Years. I had this one on my wish list for quite awhile until Eric gave me his copy. This is easily the most exhaustive attempt at discovering where Santa comes from I’ve seen. And, no, he’s not just an outgrowth of Saint Nicholas as is the common claim. In fact, if anything, he has closer ties to Satan than Saint Nicholas.

  10. He knows when you are sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good, for Goodness’ sake!

    Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I’ll be watching you


    Easter is another of these Pagan >> Christian holidays, that’s where the bunny and the eggs come from…

  11. Thanks Les, haven’t read the book just went by childhood memories (we stopped celebrating christmas when i was 7).But I’ve googled him and found which pretty much covers all the stories I’ve ever heard about him.
    I find satanic claims somewhat dubious as christianity introduced the concept of the devil/satan a few hundred years after St Nicholas’s death in 342AD.Although there are some details which go back Thor and his chariot which is pulled by two goats/reindeer named Cracker and Cruncher or something.Still Thor was by no means satanic.To my knowledge (limited as it is in these matters) Christianity is the only religion with a concept of Satan/pure evil.But then it is the only religion with a god that is supposedely pure good/love and you do need a counterbalance to explain bad things happening.
    The greek gods make far more sense to me in that respect, but thats just me and I’m an atheist.

  12. Hey, first comment here, though I’ve been hanging around for a couple of months.

    Bringing the commercialist element back into the discussion. I had read before that Coca Cola was the reason Santa was dressed in red, but apparently he was already established as dressed in red well before the first Coca Cola representations of him.

    Santa Urban Legend False

  13. With regards to:“Chritianity-The Plagiarizing Religion”
    I’ve recently seen a TV-Doc entittled “Did Jesus Die?” where,after establishing that Jesus only spent less than half the time (according to the gospels) on the cross that it takes a man to die,it was pointed out that all of Jesus’s teachings (again according to the gospels and using the most original texts available) are themselves almost verbatim copied from the teachings of the Buddha! This would also explain the three holy men and the complete lack of any information of what happened to JC between bith and age 32.This scenario is built on the (tibetan) tradition of,on the death of a Lama,to actively search for his reincarnation.Once the baby is found the parents are richly rewarded (frankinsense,gold and myrrhe will do nicely) and the child taken away for education,typically lasting until about age 30. They then highlighted a few local legends, notably one in which a travelling preacher is still revered whose name sounded remarkebly like Jesus. Apparently he arrived some years after the crucifiction and his distinguishing features were some odd scars on his feet(a contemporary local artist has made a copy of his footprints).Also he was a thoroughly nice guy with some great ideas of how to make live more pleasant for everybody.At least thats how he is remembered.He was not aligned with any religion as such.
    Anyway it sounded as convincing as anything else and it opens up the possibility that christianity was derivative from the get go.Also it fits with my gut-feeling that Jesus was an alright dude just completely misunderstood and heavily edited by the people who wrote the gospels.

  14. Golix, indeed Santa’s origins do go back much further than Christianity, I was merely describing one aspect of Christainity’s “contribution” to the concept as it progressed. The other being the claim that it’s an outgrowth of Saint Nicholas.

    Santa’s true roots stretch way back into the past.

  15. Brian’s mother, from Monty Python’s Life of Brian:

    “Thanks ever so much for the gold and frankincense, but next time don’t worry so much about the myrrh!”

  16. Golix, I saw that program too. They also showed his alleged coffin, which is a pilgrimage spot for many. The disciples, giving him the sponge of ‘water’ to drink, actually gave him a drug that indused the effect of death. He was later given the antidote in the tomb and went back to, I believe it was the west coast of India, to continue his teaching. I’ll try to find a website supporting more of this…

  17. aha!! found it!!

    Jesus Of The East – however if Jesus did continue in life after the crucifixion, then the fundamental belief of him dying for our sins is a bogus teaching, and essentially it isn’t necessary to believe he died for us to get into heaven…

    Anyway, back on topic – I wonder if later on we’ll have someone coming on to dispute how Christian Christmas really is

  18. There was no such person as “Jesus of Nazareth” he is an entirely fictional character, “possibly” created by the Roman “Piso” family.

    The “Jesus of the east” you speak of was none other than APOLLONIUS OF TYANA whom not only was a real person but even though Christians desperately tried to find and burn all accounts of him his life (Unlike the entirely fictional Jesus) was heavily documented by many well known individuals, quite a bit of this text managed to survive.

    ALL of Christianity is myth, it is made up entirely of much older pagan rituals & religions, its a patchwork of older Sun-God worship largely from Kemet (Ancient Egypt).
    Jesus is merely an allegory for the Sun.

    So it is rather fitting that the patchwork kid of all religions hijacked Santa Clause to.

  19. A few replies to the commentators:

    Thanks. Many brought up details I did not due to dashing off the article before dinner and watching Red Green.

    Yes, Christianity IS a great pretender, or expropriator, or hijacker. It has harvested a wealth of symbols and ideas from Egypt, Sumeria, Babyon, and several dozen more of the numerous societies in that area. Herodotus has a good description of how gods were transferred from one place to another,often by conquest or imperial fiat. There have been many saviors, virgin mothers, sun gods,ad infinitum. Christianity is a hodge-podge aggregation, gathered from many corners of the ancient world..including, as was remarked, from Buddhism.

    To Zilch:  I am embarrassed by the disclosure that I created more solar mythology. Perhaps I should join the creationists or the Flat Earth people with my scientific knowledge! It was unintentional, and I’m glad you know what I meant. I know better. The Seasons are not caused by the yearly rotation of the earth about the sun, but around Janet Jackson’s nipple.

    To Dumbscot: Yes, JEsus probably originated as a kind of sun god. And Yes, Xmas celebrations were once illegal, even forbidden, until after about 340 a.d.and some Christian branches do not accept Santa as part of Christian ritual or dogma. Some Christian Web Sites equate Santa = Satan.

    I chuckled at Fox’s remark about Santa being an entry level drug to Jesus. And I ckuckled at someone finding a connection to the Monte Python Life of Brian, which I thought was a hoot.

    Humor is indeed our saving grace.  Saving us from solemn boredom!

  20. Well, due to Peter’s last comment, I decided to Google for “santa = satan” and came up with this:

    Satan Is Santa Claus

    “So talk to your children before it is too late! Tell them that Santa is no kindly old man; he is an evil demon. And next time your family sees some propped up gin-soaked vagrant in a Mall wearing a red suit with white furry cuffs, set a good example and witness for the other deluded people waiting in line. Loudly, rebuke him! Announce to all the children in the store “Not only is Santa a lie, he will ravage you sexually, drink your blood and drag your palpating carcasses down to Hell with him!”.”

    Ho ho ho!!!

  21. He knows when you are sleeping
      He knows when you’re awake
      He knows if you’ve been bad or good
      So be good, for Goodness’ sake!

    Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I’ll be watching you

    Nooo! I’m being stalked by Santa again! Looks like another restraining order is needed!

    Changing the subject slightly: All year round, we teach kids to stay away from strangers, do not accept sweets/candy from strangers and if a stranger comes near you make as much noise as possible.
    Come Christmas: This strange man is going to sneak into your bedroom late at night, leave you sweets/candy and other goodies – but if you see him, don’t make a sound.

  22. Several years ago I downloaded this item. It seems appropriate to list it here, to help answer tthe comment about SATAN = SANTA.  No author was listed.No infringement is intended. Peter


    Santa and Satan are treated as two different characters of folklore,
    but are they.  We have found a number of disturbing coincidences
    between the two.

    1) Both wear red
    2) Both live in places inaccessiable by mortals
    3) Both have an army of minion willing to do their bidding
    4) Both live in places of extreme temperature
    5) Both seem to use unusual means of getting around
    6) Parents use both of them as means of controlling their
    7) You can ask things from them
    8) Both have relations to Christianity
    9) They both visit you are the oddest of times


    I have been noting the contrasts and similarities between the personas of god and Santa Claus, this being the christmas season and all. Santa Claus, like god, can perform miracles. He criss crosses the globe in one night, pulled by his flying reindeer, stopping at every child’s home. And after shrinking himself down to an acceptable size, comfortably and cleanly scoots down their chimney! Also, like god, he knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, but unlike god who requires you to be good for his sake- and nobody else’s, Santa only requires that you be good for GOODNESS’ sake.

    Using historical texts, religious authorities and non-eyewitness accounts as a reference, it seems that nobody has ever laid an eyeball on either god or Santa. However, the two have obviously seen each other. That, of course, is the only explanation for the pictures that have been circulated of the two throughout the ages; they apparently painted and distributed each others’ portraits so all of their fans would know what they looked like. At this point in time I do not think that there is a civilized person alive who has not seen a representation of the two, whether it is a likeness of god in a religious manuscript, or an impersonator of Santa Claus at the local shopping mall.

    This leads me to note their remarkable physical similarities. Both are older gentlemen with ivory white hair and long curly beards. Although they do own and wear a limited and distinctly different wardrobe, this is, no doubt, due to the dress code requirements of their respective professions. Santa’s got his flaming red jammies with a jingle bell ensemble, while god wears his familiar but tasteful white flowing nightshirt. Many years ago even the least perceptive of people noticed that the physical characteristics shared by them both was uncanny. The only real difference is that god is slender, tan, and always wears a rather somber expression; whereas Santa is a bit over-weight, pale, and has a jolly disposition with an endearing smile. In fact, the theory was advanced recently by a geneticist that the two are actually BROTHERS, only Santa has a thyroid condition. If god’s last name IS Clause, not too many of us would be surprised.

    If they are related, they certainly do not have too much in common personality wise. From what we do know, they have entirely different lifestyles and attitudes. Santa is happily married with no children, yet god is single and has a son; so Santa wins in the good morals department. Santa is comfortable with his celebrity status, and has given out his North Pole address to the public. god on the other hand keeps a low profile and is rather reclusive, (No one actually knows where he hangs out). Santa is well known for his jovial sense of humor and his even temper. god though, is thought by psychologists’ to have been a problem child with a sociopathic personality, and probably the younger of the two, accounting for his frequent displays of jealousy and his in-satiable ego. (He has been referred to as the SEAN PENN of deities, due to his un-predictable fits of rage and his relationship with that Madonna woman)!

    And what about the personal relationship between Santa and god? It is here that I make mention of a little publicized rumor that has been whispered amongst their intimate and most loyal of fans. As far as I can ascertain, they both had been reasonably close for a long time. For approximately 1700 years or so god had a monopoly on a religious holiday that he himself initiated – called christmas. It seems gods’ stronghold on the event began dwindling, and about 60 years ago Santa, recognizing his opportunity, who’s own influence on christmas had been gaining momentum, initiated a hostile takeover. As seems apparent today, it was successful. Even god’s most faithful fanatics seemingly abandoned him and started leaving cookies for Santa on his annual visits. As far as I can determine, the two of them are no longer on speaking terms.

    And since we’re on the subject, I will take this opportunity to attempt to debunk a long standing theory. It IS true that the letters in Santa’s name, when re-arranged, spells Satan. But to this date, no one has ever provided one shred of evidence that Santa and Satan are the same person.

    The world may never know the truth about god and Santa, beyond the deluge of media hype and what their publicist’s disclose, but in the end, it’s probably for the best. Although mankind has an un-quenchable interest because of the important roles they have upon our lives, we must respect their privacy. For to unveil their mystery could only lead to our doubting their benevolence. Deities live by and depend on their reputations, and discovering their inevitable flaws would only take the wonderment, alas, the fun, out of two celebrities who are out there continually monitoring and judging our behavior.
    ‘ (Writer of this piece is unknown)

  23. Christmas(C 2015) in the America of 2300 AD

    Mommy why do we celebtare Christmas?
    Well Tommy, Christmas is when Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, son of God,and despoliler of the unwashed, was born. He came forward and through his benevolence said—according to the new world Christian teachings of the Dogmatic Triumvirate Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell—- Let the few of the world put forth in glorious oppresion the masses for their own benefit. For it is in His name they consume. Verily it is just and right and whatever methods employed to maintain this glorification are holy in His eyes. Amen
    Mommy is that why Mobotu can’t come to Christmas?
    Why yes Tommy. You see your personal servant Mobotu has been placed on this world as a tool to be used by us, as we see fit, so that we may consume in His name.
    But why mommy?
    Well, Tommy as you have learned in Sunday Bible Shopping School—Mobotu is an unwashed heathen muslim and being such is going to go to Kmart hell when he dies. So, you see living as God’s- and by extension- our servant now is his natural lot in the world, Praise be to Him! 
    But why mommy? Why is Mobotu being a dirty heathen Muslim mean he can’t have Christmas?
    Well Tommy, dirty heathen muslims like your servant Mobotu have to serve us in order that we may consume in His name. Only enlightened Christians from the United States of Stuff and Things are permitted to celebrate Christmas(C 2015).
    Otherwise God would be angry and smite us.
    I think I understand Mommy.
    Mommy what would make Jesus(C 2015)really happy on his birthday?
    That has changed over the years. For the longest time it was said that Jesus was poor and that giving things to poor people would make Him and His Father very happy. But as you learned from Sunday school that Saint Falwell in 2015 came down from Orel Robert’s Godly Tower of Power with the New Gospels. The New Gospels(C 2015)
    instruct God’s chosen people to consume as much as possible and that all others are to serve God’s chosen people to this end.
    Mommy what if people like Mobotu do not want to serve God’s chosen people in their quest of glorious consumption?
    Tommy chapter 1 verse 35 of the book of Glutony(C 2015)says: If the heathenous ones will not submit to the will of the Glorifiers of His will then verily I unto you slay them all until they submit to the will of His chosen people. He will sort them out in His time.
    Mommy why does God want the ‘others’ to serve God’s people?
    The New Gospels can answer that too. In chapter 1 verse 10 it says: The heathenous peoples of the Earth are to be used by God’s people to work His will in order to enable God’s chosen people to consume in His name. Be not concerned with their welfare as they are tools placed on the world only for this purpose and their numbers are great for this reason.
    So mommy I should’nt worry when Mobotu is cold, sick, or when he says that he is hungry?
    No, No, Tommy Mobotu being cold, sick, or hungry is a good thing. It means that what might have been used to benefit him is being consumed instead by us in order to glorify God.
    So the less Mobotu has and the more I have the more happy Jesus is?
    That’s right Tommy! I have such a good boy!
    Mommy will we ever run out of stuff and things to consume for the glorification of God?
    Yes Tommy those will be the end days, but that will not be for a long time. So, don’t you worry about that, let somebody else worry later. You just keep consuming in His name.
    I will mommy.
    Mommy I want a candy NOW! NOW! I want a toy NOW! NOW! I want to eat NOW! NOW! I want Christmas NOW! NOW! I don’t care if it hurts the heathens I WANT IT NOW! Praise be to God!
    What a good American Christian boy I have.

  24. To Dumbscot:


    Personally, I’d like to see the return of Black Peter.  Maybe then all these kids that are out from school will keep their sugar-induced behavior in check.

  25. I didn’t even catch that the first time I read through his comment, but just now it made me laugh out loud.

    I don’t think he meant any harm. wink

  26. “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” J.G. Kennedy.

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