Congress is giving the Pentagon the authority to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – and they don’t have to open the parcel and actually use it until they’re ready.

They had better be quick. The incoming Tea Party Scrooges have vowed to take back the gift, reversing the decision in the first session of the new Congress.

Victoria got an early Christmas pressie called Ted Baillieu, but no-one’s managed to unwrap him yet. He looks OK on the packet, but comes with some scary attachments, such as an Attorney General who believes gays and lesbians should stop whining and learn to live with their disability.

New South Wales also got an early present with a nasty attachment, as overseas paid surrogacy became a crime.

The best presents, of course, are those that keep on giving, and what better present could a democratic society ask for than WikiLeaks?

The long promised freedom of information, the openness and transparency that are essential if democracy is to work, delivered not by an honest and courageous government — a beast of such rarity that no living Australian has seen one — but by an alleged rapist and allegedly disgruntled gay geek.

If freeing information is good ­— and I believe it is — then quite why the publisher of the information is lionised, while supposed provider of the information in the first place is left to rot in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, escapes me. No Merry Christmas for him.

Elsewhere, Christmas presents can be nastier still. Extra-judicial murder in Iraq and Jamaica, hanging in Iran, rape in Africa. And no room at the inn if you flee. Refuge denied, using any excuse.

The Czech Republic straps a detector to the penis of persecuted gay men, and shows them hetero porn. If it arouses them, they’re sent back.

Personally, I don’t care for Christmas presents. For one thing, I have never forgiven my parents for lying about Santa. A twisted game to play with impressionable minds, I think.

Santa is banned from our house. After years of exchanging gifts neither of us wanted, my partner and I called a truce (likewise with all my family and friends).  Don’t bother with the cards and presents.

We’re all a lot less stressed. There’s a little less useless junk in the world. A little more money in the bank. A little more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company without getting all competitive over who spent how much on whom, and whether what they got was worth more or less than what they gave. Which is my little Christmas miracle.

Whatever presents you get over the holidays, remember to enjoy the giver at least as much as the gift. And I’ll see you again next year.

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