No one has the right to refuse to help or serve someone because their religion denotes what others should put in their shopping basket, trolley or mouth. A Marks & Spencer food hall is not a place to breed religious or racial intolerance.
When I was just eight years old, Christmas Day came to have a different, bittersweet meaning for me, compared to most lucky souls. Because when I was meant to be celebrating my eighth birthday (yes, I was born on 25 December), my Uncle Eddie, who lived next door, and to whom I was extraordinarily close, passed away in the early hours of that morning.
You feeling Christmassy? You excited for the time off, the overeating, the family fun and the presents? You love this time of year? All the film watching, Roses munching, Baileys drinking fun you can have eh? Well not me.
Call me a Luddite but I remember the good old days. When you fancied someone and wanted to 'go out' with him or her you'd have to actually ask him or her out. i.e. pluck up the courage to talk to them in person. Yes, actually ask them verbally. This often meant you would soon have to meet their parents, or perhaps worse, their brothers and sisters. But things have changed.
When it comes to Christmas drinks, a standard selection of old favourites immediately springs to mind. Mulled wine, Sherry, Baileys, Port - these are the usual bottles seen poking out of overloaded shopping trolleys the week before Christmas.
There'll be rumblings of Christmas being "too commercialised", that the town centre is "hell on Earth" throughout December and, when you slink in feeling warm and merry after your work Christmas drinks, he will look with scorn upon your flashing Rudolph nose and antlers, brush the crumpled mistletoe out of your hand and will refuse you drunken Christmas sex. What a joyless, heartless b*****d.
Christmas music will never be cool, despite the fact that it has inspired plenty of cool music - don't tell me Louis Armstrong's Zat You Santa Claus? isn't the bees knees? Scoring a Christmas hit can often lead to a gold trimmed pension for the composer and/or artist who records it.
Living with the death of a child is difficult at any time of the year but Christmas brings extra challenges for bereaved parents. I should know. This will be my ninth Christmas without my son Owen.
On my daughter's first Christmas, my husband Gregor and I discussed Santa. Do we? Don't we? For him, the decision was easy - we can play all the games, but we don't have to actually tell our daughter Santa is real. I thought this sounded reasonable. But part of me was torn. Would we be denying our daughter the magic of Christmas?
They're there throughout the year and we often don't know they're there. They are battles beneath skin. They live in those we love. They sometimes live within us. There are times and situations in which they can become amplified to an almost intolerable point. I am referring to mental health issues.
"Do you welcome those who celebrate a non religious Christmas?" I ask Reverend Sue Powell, "even world famous atheist Richard Dawkins has spoken of his love for this holiday"
Hating Christmas is exhausting and just as tiresome and clichéd as all the constantly replayed songs, and yet loving it seems like a chore all the same. When you are brought up as a Jehovah's Witness, the world of Christmas festivities looks very different.
I am finally expecting a baby in February after almost four years of battling infertility and IVF treatments. Despite being so close to my goal of being a mother I have not forgotten for one second the pain that I have endured to get here. I especially cannot forget how much more intense that pain was at Christmastime.
The start of December marks a mass exodus of students from university. We are flung to various outposts, some local and some rather exotic as our colleges send us packing; eagerly anticipating the lucrative conference and holiday crowds.
It's the age old question that parents have to face up to every year: will my kid(s) have enough presents to open on Christmas Day. How much is enough we ponder? And will they like them? We try to get that balance right between fun toys and educational toys. As the cash registers tick over we will be tempted to throw caution to the wind heading home with bags full of goodies.
Christmas seems to get longer every year. I noticed that shopping-channel BidTV started flogging Christmas decorations in September... As the build-up gets bigger and bigger, by the time it eventually comes around, the intensity is so excessive that it could never be as good as you'd hoped.