And so it begins....
The retailers have been playing Christmas music since before Labour weekend, my junk mail has doubled in anticipation of the annual spend-up and I've just spent half a day collating all the various letters and emails re events coming up in the next four weeks.
Like it or not, there are now just 29 sleeps till Christmas - and it seems to me that the break-ups are getting earlier and earlier every year, so as to help people fit them all in.
Not too much of a problem for us, as we've always planned not to make plans in the last term of the year, knowing full well that everyone else will make them for us - the school, the kindy, the work, the church groups, the sports club, the extended family etc etc.
Not that I mind though, the groups we belong to bring a richness we would never have enjoyed had we been the stay-at-home types - and as much as I love my computer, it's not near as much fun as getting together with friends.
But life is getting a bit crazy - Regular readers would have noticed I missed writing my blog post last week partly, I confess, because I've been distracted by the fiasco of the Labour Party conference etc, but also due to my putting in long hours at work and the start of the Christmas rush. I'm gonna have to take the advice of a friend, that when it seems like I've got too many balls in the air, I should just put one in my pocket.
The pressure's on - to spend money. Retail apparently is going through a hard time, and while it's noted that "people are worried about the future and their job security," and "on the one hand debt reduction is a good thing", shoppers have been encouraged to "splash their cash".
I say spend what you've budgeted for - and if you haven't, then don't.
The pressure's on - to make everything just so. But so what? I'm all for making the place look nice, but does it really matter if the trees are untrimmed and the windows are still unwashed when the rellies come to visit?
And sure it helps to have a deadline, but is it worth the stress? So what if the gift arrives in January. Isn't it the thought that counts?
And no, I don't want to take away the joy you find in giving and sharing. But isn't there a balance in giving gifts vs. giving of yourself? I suspect the value others put on you is much higher than you might think.
So here's a thought: If you want to avoid a break-up, don't go to the break-up. And if you want to avoid a melt-down, take some time out to smell the roses. Take a walk in Frimley Park.
And if you haven't made the time throughout the year to put away some emotional capital, don't try and spend it all at once - you can always plan to do it differently next year, can't you...?
Decide what's important to you and don't let anyone tell you different. Since when was Christmas supposed to be a celebration on a treadmill?
And by all means, have a very merry Christmas if that's your style, but my personal wish for you is very simple: in the words of the old Christmas carol, that you also might know Peace on earth.