They call this Christmas Eve. In Europe (notice how the British still don't think they are part of Europe) - well, OK, 'on the mainland' they open their presents tonight.
Don't forget to show how much you love someone by how much debt you are willing to go into, to give them something unnecessary.
Don't forget to consume far more than normal, so that you feel bloated and uncomfortable. Ideally, eat things you don't normally eat, and drink alcohol, even if you don't usually.
I guess all this started when I found that even my household (I grew up as a vegetarian) used to have a dead bird on the table at Christmas (for relatives). How can I offer meat-eaters a glimpse of how that felt? How about a baked dog with an apple in it's mouth? Pretty horrible, anyway (although the cat used to like it).
And then there was the State Religion aspect of it. This is what people believed if they were good citizens. It was irrelevant what a small boy thought about it - what a transparent hoax the whole story is - more improbable than the Tooth Fairy (and I am not talking Santa here). Compulsory Belief. Well, to me, you can't make anybody believe things. You can make them confess, admit or falsely claim to believe, if you are the Spanish Inquisition, but you can't (I believe) make people truly believe anything.
Ho hum. I am just using this for my rant, so I can clam up 'in real life' and not spoil people's parties. Then all I have to get through is that 'Oh you shouldn't have, I didn't get you anything' bit, and the 'no, no not for me thank-you, I've had enough' and the sentimentality and the envy, and the anti-climax...the pause...and then that whole New Year's schtick as well...and I'll be able to relax.