When I imagine my own kids one day going through my "box" of memories I realise that there is no box. Even my inbox they won't have access to. Emails have replaced letters, pictures on facebook have replaced photographs, iTunes downloads have replaced CDs which in turn have replaced tapes and records - and then there's the Kindle.
If this Coalition government really is trying to instil more civic pride and individual responsibility in the public, then there are few more compelling icons of altruistic endeavour than a woman who traipsed half-way around the world to support those fighting in her name. Was she a saint? Not at all, and she herself struggled at times to deflect racial taunts by trying to distance herself from those with darker skin, so she might better fit in.
In the 17th Century, the Christmas Mince Pies (yes, more meat...) were famous for having a little baby Jesus on the crust, which sounds rather nice, but was a horrifying act of blasphemous cannibalism in the eyes of Oliver Cromwell. It should be said, Olly was not a miserabilist most of the time, but he did feel Christmas was meant to be a period of holy reverence. Accordingly, he did away with it all, and even ordered the confiscation of Christmas dinners from people's tables. Strangely, attending church was also prohibited on Jesus' birthday, which seems a bit weird, even by his standards.
All things considered, the modern Christmas is pretty bizarre. However, this is entirely in keeping with tradition - as far as we can tell, Yuletide has always been a curious head-scratcher. For the historian like me, teasing out what Christmas used to be like, and why it even exists, is a blooming nightmare.