Sunday – the ancient Greek word for “sitting on one’s arse, doing nothing of any consequence whatsoever and not feeling at all bad about it”. That’s the theory anyway. Usually, it’s a matter of trying to do all the things you didn’t have time for during the week in a mad rush before Monday morning arrrives again.

My plan for this Sunday was to finally start the Xmas shopping. I can tell it’s time for that when i start seeing messages from people saying they’ve FINALLY finished theirs. Never the most most punctual, me. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated that I was sadly unable to do it today as I couldn’t be bothered.

Much as I love Xmas and the excuse to go crazy buying silly trinkets and elegant objets d’art for the people I care about, I am very poor at actually getting started. When panic finally sets in and I head for town, the initial trips are to Fopp, Waterstones, HMV, Virgin and a variety of music shops (in case I can think of someone who needs a ukelele, you understand). These, as you may guess, are mainly about getting presents for one person in particular … on his own credit card.

When I finally have to knuckle down, I give praise for the mobile phone, without which I would be unable to quiz members of my family about whether other members of my family might like whatever-it-is I have in my hand and how likely it is that I’ve bought them it previously. Having once given my dad a novelty mouse mat (an admittedly poor present to start with) two years in a row, I resolved never to see That Look on a loved one’s face ever, ever again.

Once I actually get started, and have a reasonable present for everyone, it actually starts to become fun. I love finding stupid extras and novelties and things I know will make them laugh. The Xmas markets in Manchester are worth a look for that Kind of thing. There’s usually at least one stall with something interesting on it, although they are starting to suffer from the same problem I ranted about before and shopping in the markets means there’s always the bonus of finishing your shopping with a well-earned gluhwein …

Hmm, gluhwein. Maybe it IS time to start shopping