MRS Mann informs me that it is Christmas, which means that all the TV programmes will be interupted with ads urging us to buy lots of things we don't want.

Why do people make such a fuss about Christmas? I may allow myself a small glass of something medicinal and a warm mince pie but is there really any need to go further than that?

The trouble is that for most people the real meaning of Christmas, you know Jesus, has long been thrown out of the crib.

Just look into the eyes of shoppers in High Wycombe High Street and you see the mixture of greed and fear that is in their eyes.

Greed for the presents that they want and fear that they might not be able to think of something that their aunt three times removed won't throw straight into the bin.

I don't mind the odd rabble of children turning up at the door to sing carols but why do they stop as soon as they answer?

I told a group last year that I wanted my money's worth but they just laughed and ran off.

A couple of lines of Silent Night, a hopeful pass at Jingle Bells and that's about it.

There really has to be more to Christmas than this.

I suppose it is the same with all celebrations these days.

Shopkeepers will think of any excuse to drag money out of us. If it isn't mother's day, it's father's, nephew's, niece's or your grand-uncle's.

You'll soon end up buying cards for every day of the year.

It's all madness.

I might wander out and buy Mrs Mann something small and modest this year, but I won't go overboard.

And I've warned her to do the same, but I'm a bit worried about Mrs Mann. She does get so excitable.

No, all I really need is a warm seat in front of the fire and the Queen's Speech on the telly to make my Christmas Day.