I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, especially the likes of Argos who are attempting to miss the Christmas rush by hosting their festivities a month and a half early.
Perhaps someone should tell the managers at the warehouse-come-shop, and all the other retailers who are on the 'season's greetings' bandwagon, that Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and has been for a very long time. So why, oh why, are they all slamming Crimbo tat down our throats now? I feel I'll be ready to choke on it all by the big day.
I actually quite like the Christmas festivities (from December 20 onwards) but slowly I'm becoming immune to it because of the sheer bombardment of tinsel, musical reindeer, Santa wall ornaments, mince pies (which are past their sell-by date long before mid-December) and the barrage of presents ideal for mum/dad/dog.
What happened to being able to enjoy it all at a leisurely pace, without being pressured into buying everything now? Every year the 'miracle of Christmas' seems to start earlier and earlier, very soon cards will be in the shops by August and the ultra-organised people will have everything bought while the rest of us are sunning ourselves on Bournemouth beach.
The little-considered victims of this pre-Christmas rush are people who have birthdays from mid-November to New Year, annually they have to put up with rubbish birthday cards because every stockist is packed to bursting point with Christmas cards, reserving only a tiny space for any other occasion - and if you're ill, you can forget 'get well soon.' You'll have to make do with a 'peaceful tidings' card with the words scribbled out.
It would be wholly unfair to just blame the shops. The main streets are already treating us to their Christmas lights, the wonder and awe of which will have ran out by the end of the month and several of the bulbs will no doubt have stopped working by the 25th. By the actual day I expect to be greeted with "M ry Ch tm s on nd all" on Regent Street, a touching message I'm sure you'll agree.
While it's annoying for me, it must be a nightmare for parents, Santa arrived at Harrods on November 1, yes the first of November, which means children will be nagging him (and mums and dads) about Christmas toys for two whole months. It's a miracle more parents don't go down the 'you've been a little brat this year so you're getting a bag of coal' route.
On that note I'd better get down to the shops, there are only 773 shopping days left until Christmas 2010 and I don't want to be caught out buying last minute again!