I Believe in Father Christmas

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
‘Til I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
‘Til I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas you get you deserve


The War Against Christmas

Does the pope read the Daily Mail? It seems possible given some of the contents of his speech at Westminster Hall today:

There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.

There’s that favourite Daily Mail straw man, the war against Christmas. They’ll be claiming tomorrow that it must be true because the pope says it is (he’s infallible, you know). But it’s not any more true today than it was yesterday. It’s a pile of lies and exaggeration which is rolled out by the tabloids every year in order to scare the christians into toeing the party line.

It’s getting earlier each year, too.

Update: And here, as expected, is the Mail’s story on this:

The Pope issued a clarion call to defend Christianity last night, saying Christmas was at risk of being struck from the calendar.

Nonsense. It’s all nonsense. No-one is offended by christmas. No-one is trying to ban or rebrand christmas.

Tabloid Watch has more about tabloid coverage of this idiocy and here’s what Enemies of Reason has to say.


The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas

I’m usually a big fan of keeping christmas in December, but I’m quite happy to make exceptions for a good cause. And this is a really good cause.

Remember, the Atheist Bus Campaign? Well the people behind that campaign haven’t stopped campaigning and their book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas is published this week. Ariane Sherine has gathered together contributions from dozens of well-known atheists. Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Charlie Brooker and Richard Herring. All proceeds from the book will go to the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Looks like it will be a great christmas present for all of your friends and family. But don’t wait until December – buy your presents now.

Remember – there’s probably almost certainly no god.


Doctor Who Advent Calendar

This image appeared on the BBC’s Doctor Who site today.

I’m guessing that they are doing some kind of Doctor Who advent calendar this year (notice that “advent” is highlighted). We’ll need to go back on Saturday for more information.

Note for US readers – the date (1/12/07) is in the logical UK order (1st December), not the nonsensical US order (12th Jan).


Oxfam Unwrapped


I first became aware of the new advertising campaign for Oxfam Unwrapped in Balham tube station a few days ago. There was a picture of Helena Bonham-Carter wrapped up like a christmas present with the slogan “say no to crap christmas presents”.

To be honest I was a little confused for a second or two. I couldn’t for the life of me see why anyone would see Helena Bonham-Carter as a crap christmas present. Then I realised my mistake. You’re supposed to think that she’s just been given a crap christmas present and that she’s gagged (by a christmas bow that represents politeness) into not saying what she thinks about it. And the way to avoid being seen as someone who gives crap presents to people like Helena is to buy them from Oxfam Unwrapped.

I like the idea of Oxfam Unwrapped a lot. You give Oxfam money and they buy something useful and send it to the developing world. The people who you bought the present for get a card telling them what you’ve bought and where it’s gone. I used it a couple of years ago. I bought a goat for a couple of friends. It was much appreciated.

If you want to avoid the traditional commercialisation of christmas, then you could do much worse than buying your presents from Oxfam