This week, just like Ebeneezer Scrooge, we are visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.
Christmas Past – Davinia Smythe-Barrett, ordinary mum
Christmas always used to be a special time in the Smythe-Barrett house. It seems so commonplace today, but our eco-friendly vegan approach was quite trailblazing at the time. I’ll never forget Emmeline and Fidel’s little faces when they came downstairs to see the Oxfam goat vouchers Santa had left in their sustainable hessian sacks.
And to sit down to our festive kale and cauliflower risotto with cruelty-free pigs in blankets (parsnips wrapped in spinach). Such a treat!
I do get a bit emotional when I think about Christmas back then. When the children were little it always seemed especially hard that their dad was in tax exile in Belize. But, as Milo says, if he spent even one night at home at Christmas our net worth would have halved.
But don’t feel too sorry for us, back then people like us battled through adversity without complaining. We just made the best of things with our annual New Year get together at our gîte in Val d’Isere.
Christmas Present – Tanya Souter, lifestyle correspondent
I da ken aboot youse, but I dinna agree wi’ folk fit say Christmas wis better in the auld days. As a quine I mind playing a second-hand game o’ Buckaroo wi’ a heedless donkey, nae internet, and the hale hoose stinking o’ sprouts. Though, to be fair, that wiz Grunny Soutar for you, and nae just at Christmas.
But still, it wiz rubbish, wis it? Noo there’s so much mair stuff a’wye. Fit could be mair Christmassy than ab’dy buying stuff that naeb’dy needs or wints, eating and drinking til ye bowk and starting the New Year in crippling debt? Jist look at some of the brilliant things we hiv noo.
Proper TV chunnels – back in the auld days ye had four, whereas noo there’s hunders. Ye can plonk yer kids doon in front o’ a Game of Thrones marathon and get stuck intae the mulled wine wi’oot ha’eing tae watch ’em for the rest o’ the day. Magic.
Decorations – fan I wiz wee they were made o’ shiny paper. Noo I hiv coloured flashing lights, 12 life-size reindeer and an animated neon Santa fit plays Jingle Bells on a loop ootside my hoose. I tell ye, it has transformed the hale street. It’s so bright it can be seen fae passing planes. I ken ’at cos the Civil Aviation Authority telt me I hid tae tak it doon. Apparently, pilots are diverting thinking it’s Dyce Airport.
Shopping – my pal Big Sonya wiz jist saying the ither day that wi’ a’ the shops full o’ festive special offers and bulging wi customers, the sales staff are run aff their feet, so opportunities for the determined shoplifter has jist gone through the roof.
Funnily enough, gan through the roof is her new tactic. She has a Santa outfit, a huge sack fit she can fill, and the perfect alibi if caught.
Christmas yet to come – Professor Hector Schlenk of the Bogton Institute
As a noted scientist, in possession of a keen intellect, wide-ranging knowledge and an eagerness to speculate about scientific advances, I have often been called the Arthur C Clarke of Ashgrove Road. Also “Specky”, “Baldy” and “the weirdo from number 42”.
In light of last week’s election results, I have been busy predicting what Christmas might be like in a post-Brexit future. Using deductive reasoning, and by extrapolating from a variety of sources, I can predict the following.
Christmas dinner will have to evolve. Without EU food safety regulations to worry about, we’ll soon be able to enjoy the familiar tang of swimming pool in our festive turkey. Brussels sprouts will of course be off the menu, along with other foodstuffs currently imported from the continent, so pigs will have to go without their (mostly Danish) blankets and you can expect currant-free Christmas pudding which, in the absence of brandy, will require to be flambéd in Buckfast.
Christmas presents will continue to be given. However, post-Brexit, one shouldn’t expect a visit from St Nick. A heavily bearded Turkish gentleman given to entering homes surreptitiously who has come into the country without notifying the UK Borders Agency is likely to encounter a Hostile Environment.
The Nativity story itself will continue to be told, although with some alterations. Shepherds won’t be watching their flocks by night as a drop in the price of lamb will put most of them out of business. They’ll be working zero-hour contracts for Deliveroo instead.
The Good News will spread on Twitter, unfortunately attracting some trolling from Herod supporters.
Not everything changes, however. Mary will still lay her baby in a manger in a lowly cattle shed – standard procedure for those without private health insurance.
God bless us, everyone!