And then there's the kids.
Petulant, spoilt, wearing a wardrobe that would feed a Dogon village for a month, and of course following diligently in their parent's Prada/Lacoste/Gucci-clad footsteps, they will grow up to become perfect facsimiles of Mummy and Daddy - insatiable card-carrying consumers with little or no regard for the consequences of their actions; short with shop staff and as arrogant as an 18th century noble, all four foot five of them. No time for beggars and hired help, how ridiculous. After all, who has the time, when there's so many pressing engagements, so much shopping to be done? No time for consideration, there's precious credit to be spent!
The shame of it all is that we just brush all of this atrocious behaviour off with a flippant 'Oh, it's just the holidays, people always go mad...' But it's not true. We're always this badly behaved. It's normal, standard and acceptable. Our tempers are permanently stretched to breaking point. It's just that at least during the festive season it seems appropriate because of the swarming.
It's a high-stakes game, Holiday, and you play it at your own risk, make no mistake. Spare me the ordeal, next time I think I'll just conveniently go abroad, hell, two weeks in a cold place sat next to a crackling log fire sounds a whole lot better than bickering over parking in a godforsaken mall, breathing in exhaust fumes and fretting over the compatibility of presents that are dully received and given, the magic long having left the building.
What an eminently avoidable load of horseshit.
I'd rather be up to my balls in freezing mud, harvesting cabbage in the Cambridgeshire Fens in midwinter than running the gamut of this orgy of excess and fanatical consumerism.
Wake me up in February. It's the Tuesday of the year, when all seems placid once more.