It is not yet a situation so dire that there is no chance of avoiding disaster but I suspect for many the panic stations alarm is beginning to stir into life.

For Christmas Day is just four weeks away.

That's 28 days ... and each of those days only has 24 hours in them so they'll dissolve as fast as this month of November appears to be dissolving.

The audio carnage of Guy Fawkes seems like only a few days ago and as for Labour Weekend, well it feels like it emerged a week ago.

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I am firmly of the opinion that the mysterious component of life we have no control over (time) accelerates as one gets older.

For once upon a time, when still in the embrace of childhood, the weeks of school holidays lasted forever and Christmas took so very, very long to arrive.

Now the season of goodwill blended with excessive commercialism is not creeping up ... it is beginning to sprint.

The lights are beginning to flicker and flash in shop windows and there appear to be more hams in some supermarkets than the common chicken.

However, I daresay the venison stocks are cautiously reduced or slightly obscured given that children tend to develop a soft spot for reindeer at this time and seeing them made into sausages probably creates tears.

"How will Santa get here?" they will pine.

"Probably arrive on-line," would likely be the increasingly common 2018 response.

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However, no respite for flightless birds and soon the turkeys will begin to challenge the pigs for counter space, and of course chemist shops all over the land will be stocking up on antihistamines as odorous pine trees invade living rooms and nasal passages.

For about the last 40 or so years I have pledged to get better prepared for this often chaotic time of the year.

But I need more time.

Eleven months these days just seem to slip by like a sled full of toys in the snow.

I attempted to come up with a strategy about a fortnight ago and put together a hasty plan of attack so I could get the better of the battle.

Plan 1: Make a plan.

Plan 2: Put together a Plan B in the event the main plan fails to cut the mustard.

Plan 3: Don't make a plan because plans can too often be unsettled by unscheduled events.

I settled on Plan 4.

Simply because there was no Plan 4.

So I went back to a better place ... Square 1.

Now one thing I initially figured not to do this year, as time rapidly runs out, is go down the gift voucher path ... although it has to be said that this pathway is a most practical one as it leaves the ultimate decision on what the recipient would like, up to the recipient.

And you can usually get something reasonably decent for a fiver.

But no, I figured this year I would buy ... stuff.

Because there is a lot of stuff out there.

All sorts of stuff ... and as long as I keep the receipts then they can go and swap it for something else if they don't like it.

This is simple common sense.

And hey, if I just get a gift voucher then it will not require wrapping paper.

That's another 35 cents saved.

Yeah, maybe I will give vouchers one last look.

I shall purchase them on Christmas Eve because that is now a sad part of my maladjusted, ill-planned, totally unpractical approach to getting the commercial rigours of Christmas sorted.

And it seems to work every year.

Of course the truly practical among us begin shopping the day after Christmas.

The day when those who sold items for $39.99 somehow find it in their hearts to sell the same things for $19.99 ... and I daresay still return a modest profit on them.

Ironically, the only Christmas-targeting gift items which do not face a Boxing Day carve-up at the cash register are gift vouchers.

What's going on here?

And even when you go to dispose of the old Christmas tree as another year begins you get hammered with a charge to do so.

It's often about the same price you paid for the smelly heap of radiata pinot gris, or whatever they are, in the first place.

Oh Christmas can indeed be a challenging time of the year on one's wallet or purse.

And nasal passages of course.

And more so if you're a turkey.