I was watching John heave the Bags of Turkey Leftovers, wrapping Paper, and joke Presents to the Bins, when I noticed something odd about his Mien, and inquired about his Health.
"Now you mention it, I've been feeling odd for Weeks."
"I've had this constant Ringing in my Ears, and I've been seeing bright Lights. I've completely lost my Sense of Taste. And I've lost Pounds and Pounds!"
I was alarmed to hear this. I inquired further about his Symptoms, determined to save him from his Malady and from the NHS.
"I've been feeling Anxious since October. I've been seeing things that can't possibly exist. And I've become addicted to Currant Pies, curved Sticks of Rock, and other Knick-Knacks I'd never normally buy."
"What doth the Ringing sound like?"
"How many Pounds have you lost, exactly?"
"And what do the Phantoms look like?"
"Oddly-coloured Deer, winged Trumpeters, wagging Dogs made of Snow."
I had heard enough to diagnose him, and confidently pronounced his Distemper to be Christmas.
"It is a common Disorder this Time of Year: a Form of Consumption that affecteth the Mind. This Year we have had an Epidemic. Even I felt a little festive."
"Is it harmful?"
"Only to your Bank Account. Some say it draineth vital Minerals, but the long-term Effects of Christmas have been insufficiently studied. In fact, a Minority of Sufferers--Bank Managers, Chinese Factory Owners and the Like--have been shown to be better off after a Bout of Christmas."
"What is the Cure for Christmas?"
"Credit Card Statements, Bailiffs, Bills (I can write you one now if you like). I would also prescribe Hangovers, and large Doses of Indigestion. Some Patients find it useful to dwell on the 1.02 Billion People in the World who struggle to afford Clothes and Bread, let alone novelty Ties and Cappuccino-Makers. However, if the Disorder persisteth into the new Year, or the Symptoms remerge mid-February, March-April, late-October, or on your Birthday, then I would have to refer you to a Specialist in Venezuela."