While Christmas is meant to be a time of peace and goodwill to all, visitors to a North Lynn centre have been struggling to get into the seasonal mood.
The spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge, the famous Christmas-loathing character from the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, may have appeared to be alive and well during a Bah Humbug party on Friday afternoon.
But organisers of the annual event, which was held in the community cafe of the St Augustine’s Centre, off Columbia Way, say their views of the festive period are spreading.
Borough councillor Andy Tyler said: “It started off three years ago as a small event and it’s grown and grown because of the number of people who are cottoning on to the sentiment.”
Visitors to the Christmas-free zone, organised by the North End and North Lynn Neighbourhood Partnership, were admitted free if they were wearing a suitably black and white Bah Humbug hat.
But charges of £2 for those wearing no hat, £5 for people with a traditional Santa hat and £35 for anyone who dared to don a full festive outfit were collected for the Lynn Foodbank.
There was also a collection of items for the Foodbank, organised by the Lynn and District Trades Council.
Partnership secretary Les Thurlow, who described himself as “the grump”, said the afternoon was about what he describes as the “madness” of the consumerism that surrounds Christmas and which he feels starts earlier every year.
He said: “It starts far too early, the music blaring out in the shops forcing people to spend money they haven’t got and get into debt to get presents for people who don’t really want them.
“Pay day’s not until the end of January. Some people are skint by January 2 and they’ve got the whole month putting money on credit cards to get their food shopping. It’s just madness.”
Jo Rust, of the Trades Council, added: “That’s why we should be so miserable because more people are having to use Foodbanks.
“People can enjoy it more if it’s kept to December.”