Smug. Smug. Smug.  Did I mention I am feeling smug?! It’s all because I’ve done something in November I thought I never would. No. I didn’t grow a moustache as part of Movember! Although never say never…! But I did change the pattern of a lifetime.

It all began on Halloween. News came through early evening, that one of the large discount supermarkets was manically stripping shelves of their stacks of ridiculous merchandise for all things Ghouslish and Witchy. In their place, a mass of Xmas decorations was incubating and already populating the aisles. On the 31st October!

This latest intelligence about crimes against the festive period – namely its hyper commercialisation and premature merchandising - sent me into a tailspin of moral outrage. (Of course, not as much as the grotesquely inappropriate plans for Bushfield Camp that threaten the precious habitat and green space.) But still, I was spitting Turkey feathers and my Baubles were doing the Fandango.

Inappropriate retailing had been spotted by yours truly dear Reader, since the end of August! Lurking in corner aisles or predating lonely standalone displays. The sunken Snowglobes. Offensive green multi-pack tinsel. Plastic trees made in China.  Sinister Santa Gnomes. Synthetic Xmas jumpers that not even Kim Jung Un’s biggest nuclear warhead could biodegrade.

Hmm. But what if I prepped Xmas in November? Instead of being angry at something I couldn’t change, go with it? So here I am at the start of December, all gifts bought. All cards written and completely decked-up.

Confession. It feels fantastic. No more feeling behind everyone else. No more the last minute panic buying tizzy, laced with Baileys and debt. (Who can afford to buy all their postage stamps in one go these days anyway…How much?!) And, I am not alone it seems. More trees are up in homes earlier. ‘When are the Xmas Lights coming on?’ we wondered. We need cheer. We need sparkle. And we need some fun.

So, if you can, make December a little more about enjoying the eternal beauty of wintry Winchester. Catch up with friends, even the annoying ones.  Find time for a musical treat at the Cathedral or with your local choir.  Do something charitable. Help the Salvation Army. Find a small way to follow the wonderful example of Winchester Rotary. As last week’s Chronicle reported, they’ve raised a whopping £30,000 for Hope Street and Trinity Winchester who support women suffering domestic abuse.

Find a moment and reflect earlier about the deeper meaning of Xmas; to take stock of where you end the year. Really appreciate the freedom, choices and material benefits we enjoy and have worked hard for.

Nationally, we end the year shaken to the core by the terror and savagery in the Middle East. Meanwhile, many feel our values and culture are under threat as never before. We feel a slight foreboding. So maybe it’s a sign of collective anxiety and uneasiness, that there’s an urge to mark traditions earlier; to celebrate louder what we stand for and cherish. A new comfort in mid-winter rituals as a first line of defence.

But we should never forget that, in this world, most people are not bad. Most are good. And so this year, as ever, Father Christmas is going to have a very busy time. Enjoy.