Hang over from jingle tills

Now that Roy Wood, James Stewart and bouncing badgers have taken centre stage we all have one eye on what we are having for dinner a couple of Sundays from now.

Personally I have embarked upon the annual ritual of making so many social arrangements that it would be enough to make even a Premier League star want to lie down but I am determined to persevere.

Ask any seven-year-old what their favourite month is and they tell you, as quickly as it takes to look up from an iPad, that it is December. The nip in the air aside, millions tend to walk that little bit taller during the 12th month but we also know all about the flipside. We have read all the statistics: about the millions who will spend the festive period alone (one in 16 of us say that has happened to them); nearly a quarter of those surveyed by the Samaritans say their worries amplify at Christmas while one in six people describe it as the loneliest time of the year.

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None of that really comes as a surprise to many of us but do what do we do about it? Very little because, most of the time, it is someone’s else’s problem. A time for sharing my eye.

Most of us are so preoccupied with spending our hard earned that we probably wouldn’t notice if Donald Trump opened his latest hotel in our back garden. We are warned every year about Christmas debt and every year we ignore the warnings and carry on scorching our plastic, putting reality to one side while we pursue the dream of the perfect family occasion. Every year the cost of the big day seems to become more daunting regardless of the fact that ordinary workers have endured 10 years of wage stagnation, the longest period in living memory.

I am afraid I cannot take any sort of moral high ground because I too end up spending more than is probably necessary and usually end up shaking my head at the amount of leftover grub or toys which are discarded by Boxing Day morning. Like everybody else with a decent job, there is no real excuse not to partake in the annual spending frenzy but it is that pressure which pushes so many to the edge every year.