Tim Harford Columnist

We said our goodbyes to my mother on Christmas Eve 1996. She had died earlier in December after a long and painful illness, but when the end came it was sudden.

It can’t have been straightforward to arrange a funeral service on Christmas Eve, the churches being put to other uses, but somehow my father managed it; the children’s stockings were filled as well. I think I speak with some knowledge of what does or does not ruin Christmas...

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