There has been widespread disappointment as Britain woke up on 22 December to find that the Doomsday forecast by the Ancient Mayans' 'long count' failed to happen. Instead, they remain stuck in a world in which George Osborne is trusted with a knife and fork, Manchester United are top of the league and Dancing On Ice is poised to take over the TV for the foreseeable future.
'I'm gutted,' said solicitor Paul Underwood, who was spending what he expected to be his last days at Bugarach in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, where aliens were expected to emerge from a mountain to rescue people from the impending apocalypse. 'Now there's no escaping sherry with my wife's stone deaf racist grandparents on Boxing Day.'
Everywhere around the world - from China, where a group called Eastern Lightning has been preaching that Jesus has reappeared as a woman, to Serbia, where thousands have flocked to a mountain that holds an alien pyramid containing relics with a special power that will preserve them - people have been desperate to believe in anything that will get them out of spending more than a week with their families.
Tesco and Sainsbury's, which announced 24-hour opening in the run-up to the apocalypse, have now agreed to extend this as those who had hedged their bets by not buying tinsel and advocaat, will need to stock up. Underground shelters, giant bottles of water and DIY chemical toilets will be on a 3-for-2 offer until the New Year.
Ironically, Mexico's 800,000 remaining ethnic Mayans appear to be alone in dismissing the prophecy as a fable from the start. 'Er, listening to the supposed ancient wisdom of our ancestors, who didn't have the wheel and died at 35 - hello?' said Esteban Granjero, mayor of Olmec. 'Admittedly I never had to go shopping in Skelmersdale in the pissing rain on Christmas Eve, so I suppose it's not for me to judge.'