It's hardly the kind of heart-warming Christmas story we know and love, but for many people memories of Christmas 2012 will be coloured by the great American cliffhanger.
Not the kind of cliffhanger embroiling a Hollywood action hero like Jack Reacher, played by Tom Cruise in multi-plexes this Christmas, or Die Hard's John McClane, but the 'will they or won't they' game of brinkmanship which characterised the negotiations over America's fiscal cliff.
The term was coined by Ben B Bernanke, the head of the US Federal Reserve, to encapsulate his anxiety at the then-looming deadline of December 31, when tax cuts were due to expire along with stimulus measures, all at a time when cuts were due in spending. (Some expressed the risks it posed in a more low-key manner, by describing the deadline as "a fiscal slope").
In total, the measures were predicted to take out $500m from the economy.
President Barack Obama tasked his 'veep' Joe Biden with the 'never the twain shall meet' factions of Republic and Democrat so that agreement could be reached on measures which would save the economy from falling over the cliff, or gently sliding down the slope.
For the Democrats, it meant renouncing some of their desires to improve the help available to the less-well off, while for Republicans it meant unwelcome tax increases for the rich.
As we all knew it would, despite the bumps and knocks of the journey, a compromise was reached. The vote was passed 89 to 8 by the Senate, with three Democrats and five Republicans voting against. Last night it still had to get through the House of Representatives but it was hoped that the House would pass the agreement before markets open today to minimise the potential damage of political uncertainty.
The agreement brings an increase in tax rates from 35% to 39.6% for individuals earning over $400,000 and couples earning over $450,000 - a feather in the cap for President Obama, who vowed to tax the rich if voted into the White House a second time.
Unemployment insurance was extended for a full year - but a 2% cut in payroll tax, which the President secured late in 2010, could not be salvaged.
Whether a slope or cliff, it's unlikely Hollywood will be making a movie about the US's fiscal negotiations of Christmas 2012.