But for a good ten years, Christmas for me was actually the time to escape family and have a rollicking drunken afternoon with friends (you know those people you actually want to be with instead of that uncle who smells of old-cat-and-cheese).
When your parents are divorced and spending Christmas at home involves a rather sad looking Christmas tree, presents exchanged between two people or indeed in my Dad’s case, Xmas lunch round a friend’s house and no Christmas tree, Christmas can serve as rather a sad reminder that everyone else is eating as many chocolate oranges as they can handle in bustling households, but you eat a small-and-tasteless Bernard Matthews’ turkey joint with a solitary party blower and - even worse - a depressed parent.
I encourage the breaking of traditions and to be honest I wish my parents had done so. Far better to be celebrating with a group of people who are not family than to be not really celebrating anything at all by yourself. Plus you get more presents.
However you celebrate Christmas – and this year we’ll be celebrating it in Sweden with lashings of gingerbread and shots of foul tasting schnapps – and whyever you do so, Christmas is a time to be together with people you love and in most cases that is a far wider circle than family.
Invoke the generosity of spirit that characterizes Christmas by inviting friends round to celebrate with you. Nowadays that most families are far more fragmented, there’s bound to be a few who may want to toot on their party blowers with you.
And quite apart from feeling good about yourself, just remember the enormous advantage of being able to finally palm off the nasty Quality Street on your guests.
Bah Humbug is written by our guest columnist, Louisa Leontinades. When she's not writing for us, Louisa runs Investment Impact, a virtual consultancy that doesn’t cost the earth.
How Early Can You Start Christmas
There's no doubt that Christmas is my favourite time of year. Just the thought of it makes me smile. It's a magical time for the kids (mainly for the wrapping paper) as well as adults.
by Mr B
see all xmas blog posts
Jingle Bells was originally a song for Thanksgiving (not Christmas) in America in 1857. Called "One Horse Open Sleigh" it was eventually renamed to the catchier title and went on to become a xmas classic.