Next Friday, we are to have what is called "Black Friday" a day on which it has been proclaimed by the media that real bargains not only may be had but should be had. We shall watch the breathless reports and extensive coverage and enjoy ourselves at the madness of crowds.
Quite how and why this major addition to the marking of the birth of the Christian Christ Child occurred is lost in the mists of the late 20th Century marketing strategies of major retail chains. It is one of those alleged "ripple" effects, if one starts all must follow.
We have already accepted Christmas trees, lights and booking for lunches before the feasts of All Soul's and All Saints and many have been persuaded that a time of the year with minimum daylight and dodgy weather is just right to travel across the land and indeed continents so it is not a surprise.
This year the fun may be more muted. The recent atrocities and tragedies will give us a great deal of pause for thought and what we do. But there are other things. In many places, the figures for government finances are not adding up. In the UK Chancellor Osborne has some explaining to do about why the petty cash box is always empty.
In the European Union, Frau Merkel is coming to the point where she reminds us of the Peter The Hermit of 1096 (see The Peasants Crusade) and her helpmeet Juncker the Nicholas of Cologne of the Crusades of 1212. In short, it is all going to end in tears.
The USA is in the early stages of next Presidential election. Too often these phases in US politics and government are times when bad decisions are made and worse actions taken. It is argued that a major reason why the US took so long to recover from the 1930's crash was precisely this and we could be in for a repeat.
Elsewhere the big beasts of economics have their troubles. The news out of China is increasingly bad, Russia is at war, Japan is fiddling the figures yet again and India has major uncertainties. There are no safe predictions.
And Santa Claus is banned from Europe on Health and Safety grounds and the problems of emissions from his motive power.