A labradoodle instead of a donkey: The nativity if Mary and Joseph had been unbearably middle-class

IS it too much to ask for a nativity story that the financially comfortable can relate to? No. Let’s imagine the birth of Jesus if Mary and Joseph had arts degrees: 

Shepherds patronised by night 

Mary and Joseph, an interior designer and artisanal carpenter respectively, would struggle to make conversation with rual workers. Nonetheless they’d welcome them into the stable, apologising for the mess, and ask if they’d considered keeping alpacas instead. Unwilling to waste his craft beers, Joseph would nip out to buy Heineken.

Kath Kidston swaddling cloth

As the Messiah, Jesus obviously needs a 240 thread-count organic-cotton swaddling cloth by fabrics designer Ella Winstone-Hughes who drew her inspiration from flowering plants of the Levant. Unfortunately not much chance to show it off to the other yummy mummies because of the Massacre of the Innocents. Herod! Grrr!

A labradoodle instead of a donkey 

A labradoodle rather than a donkey would obviously have been the middle-class pet of choice, and would have been given a pretentious non-dog name like Hugo, Artemis or Clive.

A Moneylenders in the Temple playset made of sustainable wood

A little too old for Jesus, but babies are learning from the instant they’re born. Given by Caspar of the Wise Men, features hand-painted moneylenders, fully poseable adult Jesus and a flippable table for hours of usury-decrying fun.

A tour of the extension

No middle-class family can stay in a property without deciding they need more space, so on arrival in Bethlehem the Holy Family contracted a local builder to add a home office and utility room. The tour is compulsory, and the Wise Men will politely feign interest in a windowless room with a tumble dryer and four bikes in it.


A middle-class gathering is not complete without nibbles, and historical evidence does exist for this: ‘Lo, Mary did bring forth a multitude of tempura prawns, cocktail sausages and sliders, and they were good’, according to the lesser-known Gospel of St Michael.

An interminable discussion of primary schools in Nazareth

The Son of God not even a day old, his parents subject everyone to achingly tedious ruminations about Nazarene schools and whether they should move to Haifa to get into a better catchment. A remark by Mary about half the pupils at the local primary ‘not even speaking Hebrew’ is deftly defused by Balthazar opening another bottle of rioja.

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I will be filling in for Santa this year. By Woke Santa

DEAR Him/Her/They. Santa is currently undergoing awareness training, so I will making some alterations to your Christmas. Here are my substitutions. 

Must-not-have toys (girls)

For girls, the Barbie Dreamhouse is unacceptable due to the non-biodegradable plastic used and the sad fact that Ken’s was the breakout hit of this year’s Barbie movie, reasserting the hegemony of the patriarchy.  They will instead receive a wooden Bolivian peasant and donkey for games of Global South subsistence farming.

Must-not-have toys (boys)

Christmas is all about smashing stereotypical gender roles, so male children will be getting a Tiny Tears doll and pushchair. This is replaces one potentially restrictive gender role with another, which is trans and therefore an unalloyed good.


Like cows, reindeer produce large amounts of harmful greenhouse gas methane. Container ships are far more energy-efficient, so I am outsourcing all present deliveries to Maersk. Rudolph, Donner, Blitzen and so forth are being rewilded. Manage expectaions for Christmas day because presents will arive in April. Rudolph has been killed by wolves.

‘Ho ho ho’ catchphrase retired

Being cheerful is discriminatory against the many people who are sad at Christmas or those who are differently-festive, such as Muslims and Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead I will say ‘Have appropriate feelings for your equally valid seasonal activities or lack thereof’.

Christmas films 

Frozen is so white it’s Nazi propaganda, and Die Hard unacceptably depicts white supremacist murderers – the police – as heroic. After talks with the BBC and ITV the big Christmas films will be Nil By Mouth and I, Daniel Blake, both of which raise important social issues. Learning resources for a structured discussion afterwards will be provided.

Elf diversity hiring

My elves are now employed on the basis of diversity and are encouraged to express their trauma through toymaking. The bears they’re making have empty eye sockets and their computer games are for the Atari Jaguar. They are on strike until I install a Tampon dispenser in the male-identifying bathroom.


Turkey lives matter, as do those of geese, chickens, guinea fowl, salmon or anything else with a face but extremely limited consciousness. Instead everyone will enjoy a nut roast. Before you complain you hate nut roasts bear this in mind: you’re not meant to enjoy them. It’s penance for hundreds of years of turkey genocide. Yes, I use terms like ‘turkey genocide’ without any sense of inappropriateness.