NOW then. It's not Christmas without a column bemoaning the rampant consumerism of the season and what a happy coincidence but this week I have learned of the Christmas Eve box and my ire is peaked.

A Christmas Eve box.

What could such a thing be? Well, you know how it is. Children don't receive enough presents at this time of year.

Christmas Day is a fairly dull event for them, what with the complete lack of build up throughout December.

You'd hardly know there was anything about to happen.

And then the day itself - force feeding of Brussels sprouts and compelled to be nice to ancient auntie Josephine who never plucks her chin whiskers and still eats Parma Violets.

(I actually really like both Brussels sprouts and Parma Violets, the latter particularly in liquid form as an Aviation cocktail, but I am trying to create some dramatic effect.)

Essentially: Christmas - rubbish for children.

So this is where the Christmas Eve box appears. In order to brighten up the worst day of the year, parents give their children a Christmas Eve box to open on December 24 and break up the monotony.

Most of them are devastated to be off school so, instead of weeping about the lack of homework and how they miss trigonometry, parents distract them with extra presents.

The box is stuffed with new pyjamas to wear on the night in question, maybe some sweets to counteract the sprouts, a few little assorted gifts in order to try to drum up some excitement for Christmas Day and an invisible dose of entitlement.

Apparently Liverpool is the city craziest about the craze but Glasgow comes second.

The notion of a Christmas Eve box started off in 2016, became more popular last year and now, in 2018, is establishing itself as a new tradition.

Isn't it a bizarre coincidence how these new Christmas traditions all seem to coincide with the necessity to Buy More Stuff.

Let's not even get on to the madness of Elf on the Shelf.

You'll remember the days when an Advent calendar presented the opportunity to excitedly peel back a little cardboard door and reveal a donkey in a stable, a laughing Santa Claus or something slightly more avant garde like a bicycle with a bow on it.

Now, of course, they are a big ticket item in themselves.

You can pay more than £300 for a luxury calendar with cheese, gin and chocolate varieties all popular.

Beauty calendars are quite the thing. Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Liberty and on and on and etc. all do pricey calendars with a high-end skincare gift behind each door.

We've made Christmas so commercial and stressful that we need a daily treat to get through the month - meaning buying more things, creating more pressure in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Either that or we're turning into dogs, needing a physical treat to motivate and reward behaviour.

Christmas is about giving, yes, but that's being taken to its extreme.

It's particularly baffling with very small children.

I mean, it's not even like children remember their infant celebrations.

Put your hand up if you remember your first birthday party? Anyone? Didn't think so.

Why not just stick a hat on their head, smear some icing on their hands and face then photograph the scene, showing it to them when they're older as evidence of the lovely time they had.

It's not like they'll ever know.

Luckily, some common sense prevails. Last year the idea for reverse Advent calendars took hold.

This is where people commit to give an item of food to a foodbank each day in November.

A school in Wales asked parents not to buy Christmas presents for teachers and give a donation to charity instead.

The headteacher of Ysgol Gymuned Rhosybol on Anglesey said a card is quite enough.

It's a good message and the right message. Greed is not the purpose of Christmas.