The financial world as we know it is ending, the heavens are crashing down around the Euro, politicians are dropping like flies and economies all over the continent are tightening their belts.

Christmas trees this year might harbour a slightly smaller array of gifts beneath their boughs, Santa might get a mini mince pie and water instead of the usual milk and cookies, stockings might not be filled with presents, but instead be worn on legs that are shivering from living in an unheated house.

How many times has it been lamented in recent years that Christmas has become nothing more than a commercial enterprise? It’s simply a stressful month where the rent is spent on presents and wrapping that will most likely only add to the already chronic amount of waste we dispose of.

Yes the three wise men bought wonderful gifts for Jesus, and gold, frankincense or myrrh were unlikely to have been dirt cheap, but festive fables spout the moral lesson every year that even if the Grinch steals all the presents, Christmas is still a happy time, and even the grumpiest of men can be reformed by the Christmas spirit.

So let us embrace austerity this Christmas, so that we may appreciate, like good old Scrooge and the Grinch, what Christmas is really about; enjoying the company of our families and good (if cheap) food, watching the same old movies we watch every year, and still crying at them just a little bit. We might have to skimp a bit on the heating, but we can still get that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Carol singing and, if you’re lucky enough to get a white Christmas, building a snowman, don’t cost a penny.

Even with the economic crisis, it’s a wonderful life.