Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat.
These days the goose may be an oven-ready £5 chicken from Tesco and the "penny in the old man’s hat" may be an internet conducted charity donation, but Christmas will always be Christmas no matter how technological and materialistic it gets.
It begins in September, when the Back to School signs in the supermarkets vanish, switching swiftly to an aisle of novelty chocolate and advent calendars. Who can blame the shop owners? Christmas is their number one money-making time of year. After all, why are sales signs always red and white? Apparently this is because the festive colours subconsciously trigger the Christmas spendage inside us.
However, I'm all for presents on Christmas day. I love the sleepless night, the waking early and tiptoeing downstairs to see the colourful and shiny presents. I like handing over dodgily wrapped parcels to my friends before we break up, and seeing their pleased smiles.
Giving is an important part of the festive season. Charitable donations increase around this time of year - I remember packing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes in primary school to send off to children worldwide. It's easier than ever to give something to someone less fortunate than yourself through schools, the internet, mail , Red Nose Day, Children in Need and more.
But back to the presents - much as I adore them that doesn't stop them maybe invading Christmas a little too much. After all, there are so many other important things to the 25th December.
We'll begin with the tree. It's decorated with tinsel, baubles, fairy lights, gluey cardboard models, popcorn, sweets, cookies – clashing or co-ordinated the choice is yours! The tradition began in Germany in the seventeenth century when Strasbourg folk decorated small pine trees with apples, paper roses and gold foil. If you needed a cheerful object to keep you company on a desert island, you could do a lot worse than the humble Christmas tree.
There's the nativity set (dusted down from the box each year), the phantom snow we all wish will make an appearance, midnight mass, spotting lights adorning houses and cards suffocating all available surfaces. There's glistening turkey, noisy crackers, holly on the picture frames and the house stuffed with relatives. You want it, Christmas has got it.
I personally like Christmas television, with the video recorder working from dawn until past midnight, stocking up films for us to watch the coming year. Not to mention Christmas music: we all like to rock around the Christmas tree, to wish it could be Christmas everyday and to deck the halls, until we get irritated by the lyrics and the bells. In my form at school everyone clubbed together to buy a singing snowman last year. He has sat on the television ever since, with his cheerful and catchy song working it's magic whenever we need it.
Christmas is a massive part of life - a complicated network of family, belief and emotions. The giant web is always changing and always updating. Christmas can start in September and end in January (whatever happened to the 12 days of Christmas?) or be a much simpler affair. Merry Christmas everyone and happy birthday baby Jesus: cheers *hic* to that!
Jessica (age 15)