We havealready received two Christmas cards at Baker Towers and at the same time as thinking “too early, too early!”, I cannot but admire the determination on the part of the senders to avoid the last minute rush and panic that seems to overtake most of us around this time of year. 

Once again I am wondering if I can learn how to do address labels for the envelopes to remove the need to hand write a hundred and more addresses in my far from elegant hand.

I actually won the Penmanship Prize at my secondary school one year. I always suspected that, as it was a small class, I would otherwise have been the only prize-less student and whoever it was who bestowed the awards felt I ought to have something to keep my spirits up. 

Also, since we have all used keyboards for decades now, I find handwriting a page or two of words gives me cramp in very short order.

The prize by the way was a compendium of all the Sherlock Holmes stories which I thoroughly enjoyed.

However, every year I can recall I have resolved to do the cards early and master the intricacies of printing on labels or envelopes to minimise the merry mayhem of ‘The Winter Festival.’ 

Much though it pains me to say it Donald Trump has made one utterance at least with which I am in agreement. He wishes to consign ‘Happy Holidays’ to the dustbin of Political Correctness extremes and restore universal use of ‘Happy Christmas’.

It is irritating that this exemplar of all that is odious and plain wrong should be the one to call a halt to that particular bit of new-speak that even those it was designed to placate find patronising and obnoxious.

A friend recently told me that she had ‘done’ Christmas which as well as being irritating serves to highlight the evolution of the feast day into a lengthy and onerous preparation period set in motion by Black Friday followed by a day or two of fun and frolics and then the January sales. 

In October my wife and I planned to have it all planned or done by now. We haven’t, of course, but it’s good to know that we are consistent. 

We have at least learned that Advent calendars with chocolates behind every door are perhaps unwise in a home containing four dogs.