What a joyless image of post-Christian Christmas Peter Atkins presents. Through a "tidal wave of secular excess", in which the general populace is "fleeced, conned, cajoled and pressed into impoverishment", a new and better Christmas is expected to emerge. It is hinted that this will be linked to a celebration of the sun's return, though how the one will lead to the other is not made clear. For the time being I think I'll stick with "peace on earth, goodwill to all men". It doesn't seem such a bad deal after all.
Tim Wilmshurst. Department of engineering University of Cambridge