It's behind you (oh! no it isn't - oh! yes it is etc.). It doesn't seem like such a long time ago, and yet it's nearly with us again. In fact, it's always nearly with us again. Or is it just that it never went away?
The Festive lights are switched on in August.....or is it next week? Those annoying advertisements for less than useful products from Tomy and Fisher Price, all featuring Santa with a smile to make you want to vomit, clutter up the advertisement breaks on children's commercial television for months in advance. The Post Office are quick to remind us of the last days for posting to obscure islands off the coast of Tasmania, but beggar if they can succeed during the remainder of the year in getting a first class letter from London to St Albans next day!
And Noddy Holder and Roy Wood are dusted down and rolled out like regular barrels.
Ho! Ho! blinking Ho! It's Mr Retail Festival, the patron saint of credit cards.
As far as I can tell, it seems the departmental store trim-a-tree displays have never been taken down. (What do people do with their baubles from year to year that they have to continually replace them?). Homebase have long abandoned their Bar-B-Q and tatty plastic garden furniture displays for instant Christmas trees (which should be Bar-B-Q'd) and equally tatty plastic Santas, baubles and other irrelevant Yuletide junk supposedly designed to help you enjoy the Festering Season. But in reality, they only assist the directors and shareholders to have a happier Christmas (have you noticed how quickly the DIY stores dispose of the Christmas displays to make way for sale goods and tatty self assembly veneer effect furniture?).
Oh! And we mustn't forget the Christmas hamper advertisements that are even more regular than utility bills - if your hamper company stays in business long enough, that is.
But we must remember that it is, after all, a religious festival. I bet there are many who didn't realise! There' can be the odd prayer or carol (usually Vorderman) on the telly.
Someone, somewhere, will have had the temerity to send you a tasteless, traditional Christmas card with the picture of a cross, grotto or even a representation of the great man himself as a reminder. Oh! And don't forget HM the Queen and her royal unfortunate's by-now traditional goodwill and horrible anuses to all men, at 3pm, over a plateful of turkey and cranberry sauce. The meal purchased, no doubt, at vastly over inflated prices (it's the demand, you know) from one of the 'helpful' supermarket chains, helping themselves to the money from your wallet.
But in reality, what is Christmas all about nowadays?
Business shuts for two weeks solid, except for the poor souls who have to go to work at a minute past Christmas to open the doors for the great public to go sale-ing or returning the useless presents they received from long-lost relatives who thought that they could palm off any old rubbish in exchange for a 6-day stay.
Now here's an idea - why not buy store vouchers for your loved ones as a present. They automatically gain at least 25% if not 50% or even 75% in value at a minute past Christmas, depending on the level of reduction in the post-Christmas sales.
But do you not find it an insult that the wonderful present you bought for your loved one three days before Christmas is suddenly, five days later, on sale in the same shop for up to 75% less than you paid for it (or has she stuck it on e-bay)?
And what's more, some of the stores have the temerity to flag up their post- Christmas sale on the till receipt for the goods you've paid full price for three days before Christmas. Bah! Humbug!
And one mustn't forget one's tree adornments - how about Bert and Ernie (from Sesame Street) or garden gnome illuminated 'fairy' lights! Or a singing Christmas Tree which looks like a plastic Jeremy Beadle. Or for that matter an inflatable Christmas tree.
And to wrap those presents you've spent a fortune on - why flashing (as in coat opening and revealing) Santa wrap of course! And there's always Santa in a Can or Christmas Pudding and Brandy Butter foam bath. All very Bethlehemmy!
It's not that retailers think the buying public are stupid and gullible.
They know we're stupid and gullible.