Halloween has come and gone the clocks are back, the heating's on. The weather's gloomy, fog and mist. The kids prepare their Santa list.

The shops are decked with spray on snow. The trees are up, all systems go. The supermarkets pack their shelves with fresh mince pies and chocolate elves.

Carols speak of peace on earth. There's little sign of a holy birth. Aled Jones floats in the air, in every hall, at every Fair.

Men are looking quite harassed, buying stuff to go in baths. Checking labels, guessing sizes, hoping for some nice surprises.

Books on cooking, fishing , knitting. Shoppers on the verge of quitting. Festive jumpers, knitted scarves. Silly presents just for laughs.

Wreaths of holly, Christmas trees. Woolly hats against the freeze. Queues of shoppers getting stressed, part time staff that try their best.

Santa's grotto, tacky toys. Dolls for girls and balls for boys. Tinsel, paper, rolls of tape, parcels wrapped in every shape.

Credit cards to pay the bills, hot mulled wine against the chills. The Sally Army sing out clear, filling us with Christmas cheer.

Presents hidden under beds, tables groan with festive spreads. Lights adorn each festive street, Orders made for joints of meat.

Plastic snowflakes, paper chains. Prayers for snow but it just rains. Angel costumes, tiny Kings. Turtle doves and five gold rings.

Finally the shops are shut. We've too much food, we have a glut. Parcels arrive from Amazon, last posting date has been and gone.

The kids wake up at five am, we try and send them back again. But we know they are so excited, there is no point in trying to fight it.

We stop to watch the Queen's speech, the remote control is out of reach. Turkeys cook around the land, Aunts and Uncles lend a hand.

Gran has drunk a lot of sherry. Her face is pink, she's very merry. We're all full of Christmas cheer, Mum's on the gin, Dad's got a beer.

The shops will soon be full of sales, with reindeer suits displayed on rails. And we all say we'll join the gym and sausage rolls will be a sin! Jan Millward©