Christmas is coming, and what’s that noise? No, it is not Santa’s sleigh, it is the pounding of feet as shoppers across Europe dash for last-minute presents. The fires of festive cheer are still burning even in these troubled economic times, it is just that the flames are not quite as hot as they used to be. With the financial crisis biting hard, economy-drives and cut-backs are the signs of the times, especially with unemployment rising across the continent.The run-up to Christmas has been even tougher in Greece, with continuing protests sparked by the police killing of a teenager at the beginning of the month. The protestors vow to continue their campaign, but there were some signs of goodwill on earth at this festive time of year. A merry Christmas to all!