Only five weeks to go, and Regent Street is all lit up

LORD ARCHER: I shop all year, so I already have several presents in my hidden cupboard. Last year I gave my wife a tiny silver hatstand with a hat, scarf and umbrella on it which I bought it in Venice in May.

MAUREEN LIPMAN, actress: I get my Christmas shopping around Passover so that it doesn't come as a shock to me. I shall be taking my mother into Dickins & Jones on Friday and buying 27 pairs of glitter tights and a fur eye mask - and that's just for me.

JENNI MURRAY, Woman's Hour presenter: My kids always want the latest hideous new toy. I refuse, then have a change of heart just before Christmas and end up running around at the very last minute in search of Ninja Turtles and Nintendo.

ANTHONY GREENSTREET, pensioner: I'll leave everything till the last moment, but this year there's a new solution - everyone will get a pounds 1 lottery ticket.

JENNY ECLAIR, comedian: I'm on tour so I haven't started yet. I hate people who don't spend any money - they chunter on about the true spirit of Christmas, which is no excuse for giving you something made out of coathangers. My mother once handed out oranges with lots of cloves shoved into them. Apparently these were pomanders, meant to sweetly scent your knicker drawer - which is fine if you like your pants smelling of putrid vegetation.

DEIRDRE O'REILLY, civil servant: I love getting home-made things. I'll be making onion marmalade, redcurrant jelly, redcurrants in muscat wine, and flavoured olive oil, in lovely bottles and boxes. My husband makes fantastic chocolates and I'm going to have a go at peppermint creams this year.

FRANCES CODY, publisher: I do mine on Christmas Eve at 6pm in a real temper, because I suffer from a permanent fantasy that I'll be spending Christmas on a desert island with the best books of the year.

TIM JOHNSON, skydiver: No. The whole idea makes me ill.

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