Gnomepac was really very cross.

“You woodland folk are really quite terrible,” he said. “I know it is Christmas but look at the amount of packaging that you have bought with all your Christmas presents. The people in Neverland will never accept this sort of behaviour.”

“That’s all very well,” said the King of the Fairies, “but the Fairy Queen has told me that she wants her perfume this year in a nice glass bottle with a squeezy thing on top and not in a plastics bag like last year.

“I think a nicely presented product pleases the person who gets it and really shouldn’t upset anybody. And besides, if you are being picky, look at these Christmas nuts. There’re in a sort of bag which is all holes held together with string. You can’t get much less packaging than that – and the nuts are delicious.

“And look at this ham, and the pate, and the stilton, figs and fruits, chocolate and rich Christmas pudding – all safely packed and fresh as the day they were made.

The Christmas holiday is long and I don’t want my family suffering food poisoning so I deliberately look for those nice modified atmosphere packs to keep things fresh all over the holiday period.”

“Alright, alright” said Gnomepak, “I suppose the people who make these things do actually think about the packaging and only use what is necessary for the job in hand. It is quite heartening to see one industry that is helping take proper care of the environment by using the absolute minimum of material. I’ll stop playing Scrooge just this time.”

“Merry Christmas everyone,” added Tiny Tim.

John Webb-Jenkins is chief executive of the Institute of Packaging.