If we want a Christmas true to the traditions of the midwinter festival, we should, says historian Professor Ronald Hutton, do what people have always done, even in pre-Christian times...
"Make merry, eat, drink, bring in decorations, light up the house, invite in friends, sing, dance, pay for an entertainment, give to the poor and to other good charities, and be prepared to have a great deal of fun... celebrate new life, the return of light, the strengthening of the sun and the hope of the year to come."
So now you know what to do.
This is an interview full or amazing facts about Christmas with which you can blitz your friends and family over the coming fortnight.
Ronald Hutton is one of the foremost experts on Christmas - an English historian who specialises in the study of Early Modern Britain, British folklore, pre-Christian religion and contemporary Paganism.
He has published many books and papers, and has appeared many times on TV and radio.
"Midwinter has always been, as you put it, mental. The Romans complained. St Gregory Nazianzus was complaining in the year 384 that Christmas had been ruined, that it should be about the birth of Jesus and goodwill to all men, when what it seems to be is about eating too much, drinking too much and quarrelling with your family and friends because you’re all cooped up together."
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