"The obvious source of wastage in the party sector is Christmas." said the Minister. "Other festivities such as Halloween and Easter are just as much fun yet do not drain as many resources from the State. Look at the strain Christmas puts the public sector areas such as the postal service. Every year Christmas results in massive overtime bills, tired backs and worn shoes for postmen and postwomen up and down the country. Pint glass volume inspectors are run off their feet visiting every pub in Ireland to ensure all glasses are the correct EU mandated size. Hundreds of extra safety inspectors have to be hired to check the wiring in local authority street lights to insure they have the correct regulation insulation and bulb wattage. There is also a marked increase in unscheduled illness in the civil service as people ring in sick for the week following the office party."
Figures released by the Department of Economic Recovery detailed the exact cost of Christmas. Last year €16,000,000 was spent on a trial issue of new musical Oireachtas Christmas cards. The new card when opened would have played the 1980's Fianna Fail No.1 hit "We'll Rise and Follow Charlie" with the words changed to "We'll rise and follow Santa". Unfortunately the prototype card had a tendency to electrocute the person opening the card and several versions were found to have the incorrect tune installed, instead playing "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", somewhat ironic considering the recent withdrawal of Grandmas medical card.
Asked if the Green Party supported the government decision Senator Dan O'Kancelled said that the exact details of the plan had not been fully discussed at cabinet. When the issue had been raised by Fianna Fail ministers the Green ministers were preoccupied making sure other cabinet members saved paper by writing on both sides of their notepads so they had not managed to table a question on this particular cut back. "In general the cancelling of Christmas would be something the Green Party would support" explained Senator O'Kancelled. "Christmas is the single greatest source of green house gasses and global warming in the developed world. Only last year 7,000,000 square miles of Arctic ice were melted by the heat produced from the Christmas lights hanging over Grafton St and another 3,000,000 miles were crushed up and used to chill drinks at the HSE office party. 10,000 polar bears were killed and their fur used to make the white trim on Christmas stockings. The whole state of Bolivia was deforested in 3 days by Christmas wrapping paper companies and 600 coal fired electricity power plants were built in China to provide the electricity to charge batteries used in toys."
Concluding the press conference Minister MacLenihan explained "People can no longer expect the State to support frivolous expenditure of time and resources. People should remember that Christmas did not exist in its current form before it was introduced in 1997 by the Fianna Fail Government. We hope that once economic stability and prosperity returns we will be able to reinstate Christmas and based on current forecasts from the ESRI we expect that in 2010 we will be able introduce a means tested Christmas for under 10's. Any child under the age limit and with a pocket money income of less than €1.18 a week will be allowed to hang Christmas decorations."
Recycling bins will be made available in supermarkets and hardware stores where members of the public will be able to recycle their old Christmas decorations. Anyone caught in possession of Christmas decorations after the 31st of November will have those decorations confiscated and will be subject to a €200 Xmas levy. The exact details of the ban will be published in the Anti-Christmas Bill 2008 which will go before the Dail early in November shortly before the Dail rises for its