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Heavily-armed soldiers, violence, sky-high prices, a Santa Claus gender war & no mention of the Nativity… Merry Christmas, Europe!

Ah, Christmas in Europe! Rosy-cheeked children waiting for Santa Claus and his team of reindeer to overwhelm them with gifts. A feast of mince pies, turkey and mulled wine.

Today the only place to really experience this idyll is in your dreams. Because Christmas celebrations in Europe have become a violent, bleak, homogenized, commercial disappointment.

There are plenty of reasons for this, involving all the big issues of our times: terrorism, economics, cultural shifts, diversity and even climate change.

Merry Christmas, Europe!