The planet's males were today keeping their fingers crossed that the Mayan prophecy of the world ending comes true and they are relieved of the need to buy Christmas presents for their wives and girlfriends.
'I usually leave it till the last minute, but there was definitely no point rushing to get things done early this year,' admitted 32-year-old Toby Hall. 'The last thing you'd want is to spend your final hours shopping for stuff that, if January ever did arrive, the recipients would be queuing up to return. Plus you wouldn't want to be weighed down with gifts when you enter the afterlife.'
Others are equally welcoming of the prospect of Armageddon. 'I had no idea what to get my girlfriend this year,' said Anthony Unwin from Catford. 'So what with that, and the prospect of spending Christmas with the in-laws, I'd be happy to see it all end in a blaze of fiery destruction.'
But some male shoppers are relaxed either way. 'If the world did end, I'm pretty confident the 24-hour petrol station would still be open. And what else would you need for the apocalypse but some tinned food, charcoal briquettes and a cut-price CD of Christmas songs?'