Well, are you all ready for Christmas?
It's a question that has been driving me demented since around Halloween.
It started with the most unlikely of questioners, too. I'd open the door to the postman bearing a delivery - nothing to with Christmas, actually, as anyone who knows my lack of forward-planning skills would know - only to be accosted by the dreaded question.
Then I moaned on Facebook about my loathing of this question a few weeks ago and for several days every single person I met in the tiny town where I live asked me, with a glint in their eye, if I was all ready for Christmas. Before collapsing with mirth at their own hilarity. It was quite funny. The first time.
My answer is always the same. With an indiscreet roll of the eyes I murmur:
"No, I'm not sodding ready for Christmas and I don't intend to BE ready for Christmas until it's actually Christmas."
Except now it nearly IS Christmas and I'm still not ready. Oopsie.
So now there's no avoiding the inevitable pre-Christmas panic. I've roped my troops into hitting the shops with me today and I'm already dreading the queues for the car park, the queues for the check-outs in shops, and the queues for a spirit-reviving coffee and mince pie in every single cafe in town.
But the truth is I quietly love a touch of Christmas madness and mayhem. Especially in a year when Christmas isn't exactly wonderful, a bit of pre-Christmas chaos is, strangely, helping me haul my sorry butt towards the festivities.
Yes, it must feel marvellous to be all ready for Christmas in January but I suspect I'll never know what it's like to have all your cards written by Easter and all your presents bought and wrapped in mid-July.
I usually try to persuade myself that such powers of organisation aren't to be admired but indicate a degree of uptightness that is at odds with the Christmas spirit -but let's be honest, I'm just faintly jealous of people who manage to their Christmas act together at all, never mind ahead of time. Props to you. Can you teach me how?
I'm now slowly accepting that I'm unlikely to change my Christmas groove any time soon. It's practically inevitable that I'll forget where I've hidden half the presents, will fail to buy enough of the right kind of batteries for the toys that will litter the living room floor come Christmas morning, and I'll totally forget to serve at last one Christmas dinner side-dish - which I'll find wilting in the microwave as I'm heating up the custard for our mince pies. It's practically tradition.
But I'm ok with all of that. I've never been ready for Christmas in a timely fashion and I suspect I never will. I'm bound to be a dithering wreck by the time we get to open our Christmas Eve box. But that's just the way I roll.
That is unless you count the Prosecco stockpile I've been steadily amassing since November. When it comes to festive fizz I'm not just *ready* for Christmas - I reckon I could endure the zombie apocalypse. Or at least drink my way to oblivion well before they get me. I'll settle for that.