In the following sketch you are to imagine that the roles of The Shopkeeper and The Customer are played by any of the great comic duos: Fry and Laurie, Reeves and Mortimer, Gilbert and George. It’s up to you.
A shop. A customer enters.
Shopkeeper: Good morning sir. Welcome to the Christmas Emporium. Our motto is “Yule Find Everything Here”.
Customer: Yes, I saw the sign, but decided to come in anyway.
Shopkeeper: It’s a play on words, you see.
Shopkeeper: “Yule”, you see, sir, taking the place of the contraction of “you will”. “You’ll”. “Yule.”
Customer (through gritted teeth): Quite so.
Shopkeeper: We thought of using “a ‘holy’ worthwhile experience”.
Customer (beginning to channel Basil Fawlty): Did you? How wonderful for you.
Shopkeeper: But we thought, in the end, that ‘yule’ was funnier.
Shopkeeper: Absolutely, sir. Funny as a vegetable that’s shaped like someone’s rude bits.
Customer: I see. Well, I don’t want to interrupt the ceaseless flow of gay banter into which we appear to have slipped, and I also don’t actually want to kill you, mostly because of the concomitant life sentence that would involve, but I really would like to buy some Christmas presents. I’ve got quite a long list, you see.
Shopkeeper: Fire away sir.
Customer (under his breath): Don’t tempt me. (takes out list and reads from it) Have you got Jeremy Clarkson’s Bumper Book of Festive Insults for Lefties and Lesbians?
Shopkeeper: Absolutely sir. One of our bestsellers, that one.
Customer: How about the Downton Abbey DVD boxed set, complete with phial of Spanish Flu virus and ‘How To Act Like Maggie Smith’ booklet?
Shopkeeper: There you are sir. Going for the popular ones, I see.
Customer: Yes, well I have to keep my family happy, don’t I? Now let me see, what’s next? Ah yes, a set of L’Occitane scented candles for the mother-in-law.
Shopkeeper: There you go, sir. They’re doing a good selection of seasonal scents for their candles this year: Christmas pudding, brandy butter, turkey ’n sprout…
Customer: Oh that reminds me, do you do catering?
Shopkeeper: Not as such, sir, but we do this special Masterchef Take The Trouble Out Of Christmas package. Contains all the food and drink you’ll need, plus a miniature Gregg Wallace robot that tells you whether you’re doing it right or not.
Customer: Well, you do seem to have everything organised. I’m very impressed.
Shopkeeper: Thank you sir. Everything to do with Christmas, that’s our speciality. Will you be requiring drinks as well?
Customer: If you can, yes please. There’ll be just the five of us, so not too much. Maybe a case of champagne, a case of white and a case of red. And a keg of London Pride for Uncle Stan.
Shopkeeper: Jolly good, sir. Can’t be too careful. The shops will be shut for at least thirty hours after all. Don’t want to be caught short.
Customer: And obviously we’ll need some decorations. Tree, baubles, tinsel, holly, ivy, glittery stuff, crackers, party poppers, candles and so on.
Shopkeeper (interrupting): Four candles sir?
Customer: Now stop that.
Shopkeeper: Very good sir.
Customer: Well I think that’s about it. Oh hold on, one last thing. We thought it would be nice to put up a little nativity scene in the front room for the children. Would you have one of those?
Shopkeeper: Sorry sir, not quite with you.
Customer: A nativity scene. You know, Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus in a crib, three wise men, maybe a shepherd and a donkey. Doesn’t have to be anything too complicated.
Shopkeeper: Baby cheeses? Well we’ve got the Neal’s Yard Dairy English cheese selection. Colston Basset Stilton, Montgomery Cheddar…
Customer: Not cheeses! Jesus. The baby Jesus. The Messiah. The Chosen One.
Shopkeeper (gurning a bit): Huh?
Customer: For pity’s sake. Jesus. The son of God, who was born on Christmas Day.
Shopkeeper: Born on Christmas Day, eh? That must be annoying for him.
Shopkeeper: Well you know, everybody must forget his birthday, what with it being on Christmas Day.
Customer (exasperated): Oh for God’s sake, are you a total ignoramus? Jesus Christ, Son of God, was born on Christmas Day! That’s what we celebrate every year – His birth! It’s what lies at the very heart of the foremost religion of the Western world for the last two thousand years! It’s what Christmas is all about!
Shopkeeper (shaking his head): Now I’m afraid I’m going to have to take issue with you there sir. What Christmas is all about, if you don’t mind my saying so, is ostentatious over-consumption, arguments with your family, and watching endless Christmas Specials while slumped on the sofa in a drunken stupor. If we lose sight of that, then there’s little hope for any of us. Now, I have no idea what you mean by this so-called ‘nativity scene’, but I can do you a battery-operated “Doctor Who Christmas Special” tableau, complete with replica tardis.
Customer: Sod it, that’ll do.
Together: Merry Christmas everyone.