Sorry, I wasn't going to do this again this year - I made a real effort to adopt a cheery Christmas happy-head, but a trip into town led me into Scroogality once more. Why do so many people feel they have to do certain things at Christmas "just because we've always done it that way"? I am NOT talking about nice family traditions that provide a welcome link and joyful memories of times and peple gone by; rather the pointless little things that no-one actually likes but get churned out year after year after bleedin' year. Dates: a compressed box of candied cockroaches that sit on the sideboard or coffee table and no-one eats and the dog swallows the little plastic dagger that is superglued onto the box (a box that extorts you to "EAT ME" like a palm-based **** star) by a sugar/epoxy amalgam. Dates (fresh dates) are sublime and are available year-round. Try them, eat them, but spare me from the sticky squished sable tirds[sic] Nuts: a bowl of nuts and a comedy nutcracker. No-one likes them but there is an obligation to try them and kernel-shrapnel flies everywhere, piercing arteries and blinding pets, and Great Uncle Vern gets a hernia trying to break a Brazil nut Christmas Pudding: the heaviest duff possible after the biggest meal of the year. Which genius came up with that combination? Setting fire to it doesn't make it any more acceptable, especially when you use industrial-strength brandy Turkey: a vast bird that no-one cooks properly, meaning I get offered the appetising choice of stringy cardboard or a moist bloodbath. Seriously, you do NOT need to cook something that could have carried off Sinbad when alive. Sprouts: 4 minutes, not 4 hours. Nuff said Quality Street: After 37 minutes there will be the flat gold discs and the brown oblongs left. Buy Cadbury Roses Mulled Wine: If the bottle of Latvian shiraz is **** to begin with, boiling it with pot-pourri is not going to make it drinkable. I'd rather have a glass of hot Um-bongo 53-year old singletons: They are alone for a reason- do not add them onto your family occasion. They will get blotto and either fall out of their blouse or become insanely maudlin. Do NOT let them try and telephone anyone after 8:30pm Presents for middle-aged men: We have enough ties, socks, books of golf jokes. Buy us booze. Christmas episodes of soap operas: Death is stalking the Street/Square - we get it! The latest James Bond film: Daniel Craig is NOT Sean Connery and never will be. He is not even Timothy Dalton Midnight Mass: who the hell is that in MY pew? Christmas cards from people in the house: could you not just have said "Happy Christmas" to me and added the £2.85 you spent on the card to my present? (booze, remember, not socks) Cheese and biscuits: Wensleydale with fruitgums in it is unacceptable. And please put out digestives to have with the Stilton Paper hats in crackers: Size 8 heads exist - make the hats big and they can be made smaller - they can't be larger. A rip up th eback and they will fall off into my gravy. Dammit. Pictionary: Draw it properly in the first place. Repeatedly tapping your vague sausage-shaped squiggle with two triangles coming out one end does NOT make it any clearer. Nor will repeatedly drawing a circle around it. And don't chew the pen - we're all sharing that. Relatives: I don't know Uncle Magog and Auntie Syph, never met them, don't care about them, refuse to be bothered about who was their daughter's bridesmaid. Questions: Yes I want another drink - I always want another drink. If you wake me up at 4:37am the answer will be yes. No - I don't WANT to take the rubbish out. I will do it. I won't like doing it. There is doubtless more . . .