A SCHOOL has cancelled Christmas - unless its students can successfully argue why they should celebrate the holiday.

Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering will ‘ban’ cards, gifts and Christmas activities.

In assembly this week, pupils were told (by no less than Father Christmas himself) about the real meaning of Christmas being “lost and buried under an avalanche of commercialisation”.

Pupils now have until November 30 to write a persuasive argument to their RE teacher - emailed to ‘scrooge@ladylumleys.net’ - about why the school should celebrate the festival.

The threatened ban hasn’t perhaps been taken in its intended spirit by absolutely everyone.

Some parents of pupils at the school have taken to social media to express their anger at the threat. One said they were “fuming”, others described it as “horrible” and “disgusting”.

But head teacher Richard Bramley said the ‘ban’ was about making students think deeply about what Christmas really is and what it’s about - particularly in a multi-faith society with a declining number of practicing Christians and where the festival is, for many people, increasingly about consumerism.

“It’s about getting kids to take a step back,” he said. “And to get them thinking about the meaning of Christmas.”

And in a blog on the school’s website, he said: “Christmas is a day celebrating the birth of Jesus and should be a time of good will to all, yet it can be a very stressful, expensive, argumentative and lonely time.

“In her message to students in the assemblies [RE teacher] Mrs Paul asked them to consider the true meaning of Christmas and to write to her by November 30 at scrooge@ladylumleys.net with their reasons why we should still celebrate this time of year and try to persuade her to change her mind.”