The long-awaited all-party report on 'Christmas in England' was finally published today in time for inclusion in the Queen's Christmas message.
The enquiry that led to the report was set up to examine and make recommendations about key controversies that can emerge during the festive season and compromise seasonal goodwill.
In looking at the origins of Christmas, the report is highly critical of God for timing the birth of Jesus to coincide with the middle of the English winter. It recommends that Advent should be moved to mid-summer.
God also comes under attack for locating the Nativity in the Middle-East. The report concludes that just two major religions in that area would have been ample. In England, Jesus is generally agreed to have been English due to His Father's nationality. The report therefore concludes that it would have been far more sensible to locate his birth in this country. 'It's like hosting the World Cup in Qatar,' agreed a perplexed David Beckham and Prince William.
English theologians proposed to the enquiry a redrafting of the Gospels to make the English Midlands the halting point of the Star, due to its central location. The final report, however, favours Surrey, one of England's southern counties, pointing out that it would sound ridiculous for the Son of God to speak with a Birmingham accent.
The Church of England has endorsed the findings and recommendations of the report and is in discussion with the Vatican and the Greek Orthodox Church about a relocation of the Basilica of the Nativity to Croydon.
Moving to more central aspects of Christmas, the report examines the controversy surrounding Santa's reindeer.
While both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter. The antlered deer known to pull Santa's sleigh in late December must, therefore, be female. This is inconsistent with the widely held understanding that Rudolf is male.
The enquiry heard evidence from a leading reindeer geneticist who confirmed that Rudolf is probably male, but suffering from Antler Retention and Red Nose Syndrome (ARRNS). This is a rare genetic disorder that would prevent the fall of his antlers but is also characterised by a very shiny nose which most people would even say glowed.
The report moves on to consider the core aspects of the English Christmas, namely spending ridiculous sums of money, eating too much and remaining drunk for as long as possible.
Retailers supplying products in support of these activities contributed submissions to the enquiry that were highly critical of the Christian Church. They argued that the Church is aggressively pursuing a campaign to hijack Christmas for religious purposes. They raised concerns that the Church openly supports moderation and charity, and in doing so undermines the very essence of Christmas, namely rampant consumerism and greed.
The report makes no judgement on this alleged attempt by the Christian Church to dominate Christmas, pending the outcome of the High Court action being taken against the Church by the English Association of Department Store Santas (EADSS).
EADSS contend that the true Christmas Story of Santa and his elves making presents for boys and girls, and then Santa delivering them on a flying sleigh, pulled by reindeer, is being unscrupulously subverted in the minds of the young by scurrilous Christian propaganda about a baby and a stable. EADSS are seeking an injunction to prevent what they see as unfair competition.
The authors of the report conclude that they may not have fully resolved all the contentious issues relating to Christmas in England, but hope that identifying current thinking on key points will contribute to further informed debate.