As scientists and government advisers urge families to rethink their Christmas plans (Scientists warn against Christmas gatherings in UK despite relaxed rules, 11 December), is it too much to ask that Boris Johnson and his cabinet do something novel for Christmas, and actually lead by example? In this scenario, Johnson promises he will have a small celebration at home, no travelling/overnighting/large numbers. He orders his cabinet to do likewise, and threatens anyone who “does a Cummings” with instant dismissal. This is of course a fantasy – the final retreat for the despairing.
Thirsk, North Yorkshire
• The supposed Cromwellian ban on Christmas (Oliver Cromwell did it but will Boris Johnson? Why MPs might sit on Christmas Day, 10 December) didn’t in fact work. Parliament did meet on Christmas Day 1656, but not many MPs were present. One complained that Christmas festivities had kept him awake the previous night, while the MP for Maldon, Colonel Joachim Matthews, introduced a “short bill” to underline that Christmas was indeed illegal. It was challenged on technical grounds, and in the end MPs decided there were more important things to discuss.