The gift of Christmas
• Christmas has become a festival of economic inflation and inflated expectations. Few seem aware that the recession is not just for Christmas but probably for life.
I had my first experience of the fury of this year's Christmas shopping on a recent trip to Dublin. The recession seemed to have taken a holiday; people were shopping as if there was no tomorrow.
Furrowed brows revealed the anguish of choosing presents. Christmas music rang out to inhibit any dampening of the acquisitive drive. It looked as if a decree had gone out from our leaders that every citizen was obliged to shop 'til they drop in order to stimulate growth in the economy.