Christmas card publishers from 197 countries gathered at a secret location inside the Arctic Circle this month to announce their tidings of comfort and joy: This Christmas will be one of the merriest ever, and may even beat last year’s record for jollity. These experts, who sift through the messages on thousands of greetings cards every year, are in no doubt. Grinning from ear to ear, their spokesman announced gleefully that every decade has been merrier than the last, for as far back as the’ve been publishing their messages of seasonal cheer.
But not everyone agrees. A tiny minority of scrooge-like killjoys beg to differ. We spoke to Dr Benny Mintz Peiser of the GoodKing Wenceslas Poverty Foundation. “There has been no significant increase in merriment since Advent,” he intoned in a voice at once deep and crisp and even. He pointed to a poor man who came in sight, gazing at his winter fuel bill. “Five minutes ago that chap was on top of the world. How can one hope to predict how he’ll be feeling next Friday? Christmas is a chaotic event at the best of times.”
He continued: “The Christmas Card Consensus Collective points to recent “extreme glee” events – twelve Lords a-leaping, eleven ladies dancing and so on -, but there is no evidence that these outbursts of joy are on the increase.”
But the experts remain unmoved. “It’s true that superficial signs of joy may be thin on the ground, but we’re sure there are huge stocks of merriment bubbling just below the surface, ready to well up on the day,” they say.
The Christmas Card Consensus has been accused of biasing their results by quietly dropping gaily decorated ribbons from cards of Christmasses past, and adding lipstick kisses to those of Christmasses present – a charge which they dismiss with a side-splitting roar of laughter. “Ho ho ho! That’s just a conspiracy theory put round by a load of killjoys in the pay of the anti-depressant industry,” they claim.
But if they’re right, and this Christmas beats all records for side-splitting fun, what are the odds of the upward trend continuing? Back to Dr Mintz Peiser: “We’re often accused of being a bunch of miseryguts, out to kill the six geese a-laying the golden eggs and all that, but we wish you the same thing as everyone else…”
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.