Evolving the idea of Christmas...

Duncan Dallas who is launching the Evolutionary Cafe.
Duncan Dallas who is launching the Evolutionary Cafe.
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While most of us will no doubt be spending Christmas morning tearing open presents - or watching others do so - one Leeds man is doing everything he can to avoid it.

In fact, Duncan Dallas, 70, would quite happily do away with what he refers to as “a consumer boom for fashion, food, advertising and holidays” which he believes is based on an outdated sense of nostalgia.

The retired academic will be launching a new venture he calls the Evolutionary Cafe, which will hold its first meeting at noon on Christmas Day.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said: “About 150 years ago Charles Dickens outlined this notion of what Christmas should be about, with Christmas trees and eating turkey and giving presents – that was a good idea in Victorian Britain but these days Christmas is nothing more than an excuse for rabid consumerism, urging us to buy things we don’t need or want and just to spend lots of money.

“We open presents, watch the Queen on TV, then fall asleep on the couch. Is that a good idea today?”

He said the first event would talk turkey about the real meaning of Christmas, adding: “The first topic will be: ‘If we did not believe Jesus was born on Christmas Day, what could happen?’”

If you think it’s an idea which won’t catch on, it’s worth noting that Mr Dallas has done this before, when he formed Cafe Scientifique about ten years ago.

The Leeds-based talking shop, which met informally over coffee to discuss anything to do with science, now has more than 700 branches across the world, some in places as far afield as Brazil and Uganda.

Mr Dallas added: “I’m calling it the Evolutionary Cafe because that’s what I think we need to do - evolve.

“Should we, for example, engage more with immigrant cultures, which may have different ideas about how to spend Christmas?”

The meeting will take place at The Old Stables, 7 Regent Street, Chapel Allerton at noon on Christmas Day.

Celtic's Tom Rogic. Picture by  Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

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