Gentle reader, I need your help. It's the question on everyone's lips. No, not just how bad was that vomiting virus for the All Blacks to lose to England? Nor even, should press self-regulation have a degree of statutory under-pinning? Will Osborne abandon plan A? Nah. The big question — at least if you are under 16 — is when can we put the tree up?
Immune from press ethics, autumn statements and the winter freeze, there is a magical world called childhood, which we are all duty-bound to preserve. Thousands of excited children have just opened the first doors on their Advent calendars to begin a month of rituals in the lead-up to Christmas (or whatever their parents' religious festival of choice).
It is a month as pregnant with excitement for them as it is fraught with stress for some parents as the realities of economic crisis come into stark conflict with the desire to give their children the Christmas they dream of.
We struggle to retain that childhood enthusiasm in the face of the ever-earlier beginning to the commercialisation of the season. We're all, sadly, immune to September store decorations and snowy commercials in October, but since when did we start putting trees up so soon at home? To me it's only OK 12 days before — or whatever that weekend is. I know too we really should stop buying real ones, but I waited all my childhood to get one. I love the ritual of lugging the prickly, scented beast back home to get all dressed up with those lights that we really should have packed up more carefully last year. Christmas; the trees, lights, music, food and above all shared family rituals. Who am I trying to kid? I love it all. Bring it on.