The heart sinks upon learning that 500,000 Londoners will take out a payday loan to cover the cost of Christmas, with 23 per cent of people living in the capital planning to take one out over the next six months, a rate double that of the rest of Britain's population. It does not need Stella Creasy, the MP who campaigns against such loans, to point out that one in three payday loans are now taken out to pay off other payday loans. The vicious spiral downwards begins.
We know we all want and need to be sensible with money at a time when the economy needs us to be irresponsible and splash more cash. But, we do not shop for Christmas with the health of the economy in mind. Christmas is a time when common sense and reason go flying out of the window as parents, in particular but not exclusively, bust a gut and their finances to do what they think is best by their children.
Even if you are determined to stay on the rails, prices can send you hurtling off. Smug Northerners can chuckle over the £100 quote for a 9ft tree at the pop-up store outside my local Tesco. £100! My heart grows ever fonder for the fake tree from Woolies we had growing up. Don't even get me started on the price of a turkey if you want to support your local butcher, and he happens to be a fancy international prize-winning butcher!
As I am here most evenings and haven't even contemplated my Christmas shopping, I haven't developed my revulsion at the sheer commercialisation of it all. Yet. But I do really, really mean it this year: it will be the thought that counts! How about you?