What could be more heart-warming in a cold winter than a British Christmas - homeless people fishing for leftover chips in bins; people in dole queues jauntily wearing Santa hats while reeking of booze; and supermarket staff and Chinese restaurants desperately trying to find customers on Christmas Day. Truly it is a time of year to be merry and sloshed.
Last year, there was even a white Christmas for part of the UK, when a pile-up on the M25 involving a sugar-laden lorry led to snowyish scenes. A group of teenagers who were nearby jay-walking across the busy motorway quickly made a "snow"-man from the spilled load of sweetener. Meanwhile a cloud of sugar dust created a frenzied but cheery atmosphere on the fume-filled crash scene.
It is not surprising that we enjoy it so much. After all, the British practically invented Christmas, or at least the pagan festival which preceded it and from which it borrows so many of its traditions. The wrapping of presents, the Christmas tree, the exchanging of cards - those are all German ideas. But everything else about Christmas is probably British.
In medieval Britain, Christmas was celebrated with a humble meal of lard and sprouts. There was no American-style turkey and the equipment required to catch a goose had not been invented yet. Instead of a Christmas tree, families would burn a wicker Jesus in their fireplace - not in the way that Richard Dawkins does when he celebrates Christmas in his godless pit of morosity, but in the normal healthy Christian tradition.
Most families were too poor to afford presents in medieval times so would exchange gifts of spittle or hair. People's mud huts would be decorated not with tinsel but with pig offal. On Christmas day itself, the offal would be torn down and added to the Christmas pudding, along with any other scraps of food that could be found around the house. These Christmas traditions will be recognised by many Britons today, particularly in the North.
Christmas has always been a time of great drunkenness, which is another custom which survives to this day relatively unchanged. Police throughout Britain unofficially turn a blind eye to drink-related crimes during the Christmas period, including drink driving. After all, it is Christmas!
Traditionally, vast quantities of grog were consumed, made from the fermented leftovers of the dregs from brewing Christmas beer. It is a tradition that continues in a fashion even now, when on Christmas Day pubs will give away the contents of their drip trays for free to anyone who asks.
So have a very merry Christmas and make sure that you get drunk like Jesus would. That is, unless you're a Johnny-no-Christmas foreign type who doesn't enjoy alcohol!