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Christmas not what it was? According to Mick Temple it never has been. Not that he's complaining.

Every year at about this time, the curmudgeons come blinking from their bunkers, sniff the festive air and proclaim, ‘Christmas has become commercialised – it’s not like in my day, yuletide log, goose spitting fat, a nut and an orange and a new penny at the bottom of the stocking, and a Dickensian seasoning to our adoration of the new-born Lord’.

Yeah, right. I’m nearly sixty and for as long as I can remember (the senile dementia is kicking in, mind you) the whole point of Christmas seems to have been to get as drunk, sated and irreligious as possible. Oh – and presents!

Too commercialised now? I can’t be the only one who whenever I hear ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly’ finishes the line with ‘Tick-a tick a Timex, tra-la-la’.

Let’s be clear about this. The mid-Winter festival we now know as Christmas was nicked from ‘we the ungodly’ by the religious right in the wake of the English Civil War. Those bloody Puritans proceeded to strip the festival of all vestiges of festivity and then they buggered off to America to found what is still ‘God’s own country’.

The Victorians gave us our modern Christmas by allowing small boys to emerge from chimneys for an afternoon to enjoy a mince pie and a gallon of gin.

All us heathens have done is reclaim our ancient bacchanalian rite.

I’m not looking to change the name ‘Christmas’. I don’t want to celebrate ‘Winterval’ or any other variation designed to appease all religions – I’ve no objection to the religious minority celebrating the birth of their saviour. Live and let live is my motto. All I’m asking is that they respect my right to be pagan and pissed at this time of year. I’ve worked my Christmas stockings off for the last 12 months – I’ve earned it.

Merry Christmas, one and all, Merry Christmas, Tiny Tim – and pass me that gallon of gin.

Are you happy to revel in a heathen Christmas?

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