OK, this is going to get mushy, so be warned. It's about Christmas and presents. Well any gift giving day and presents, actually.
You guys want to know something? It's not true that what counts is the thought and not the gift. Our mothers were pulling our legs on that one.
Come on, be honest, you are probably like me and have collected so much gift-wrapped rubbish over the years from people who copped out and hurriedly bought a little plastic thingy to give under the protective flag of "good thoughts".
I was asked recently, what I would like for Christmas. I hadn't really given it much thought, but this is what I want -
I want to be 5 years old again. Just for an hour. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to make a mess eating mum's spaghetti, I want to be picked up and rocked to sleep in my late mother or late father's arms.
No-one is going to be able to give me that, but I might give, at least, the memory of it to myself if I try hard enough.
By the way, this Christmas when you see an image of the Bethlehem manger, have a good, hard, long look at it. It's an icon of the supposedly perfect family.
OK so it doesn't even stand up to basic scrutiny. There's Mary, a teenage kid who has just had a baby in the back stall of a barn, and with some confusion as to who the father is. Her partner, Joe of Nazareth, is muttering about taxes and the fact that the head honcho in those parts, Herod, has opted for infanticide. And if that's not enough to think about, there's all this traffic of visiting astrologers, sheep ranchers and angels who keep dropping by with questions and proclamations. And there's the baby - Jesus Christ, that cute little kid, is going to grow up to wander around the desert in a frock, cause enormous civil disturbance, vandalize a temple and come into serious conflict with the law, before being arrested, tortured and nailed to a tree.
I mean, they're not exactly the Waltons, are they?
OK You know when you go to the office Christmas party and there's always some idiot in the corner that insists on dancing on the table with his pants around his ankles, and tops it off with a floral lampshade on his head? Meet Eamon, my next door neighbour.
I recently went to pick him up from his Christmas party - and yes, there he was!!!! Every year, without fail, he manages to make a complete and utter dick of himself at the Chrissy party (and that even includes all those years he was unemployed and crashed Social Services' party).
Every December he promises himself that this year it will be different and then every year the Christmas spirit enters him followed by the Christmas wine, the Christmas beer etc, and suddenly he's back on the table looking like Ned Kelly.
The cause of most of the problems can be traced back to 2 words - FREE BEER.
He has a formula for working out how much he should eat and drink. First take the amount of money you think you should be paid, subtract the amount you are actually paid, and the number you have left over is how much you can eat and drink in free booze and nibbles to get even.
And, he says, if he feels like a little bonus and the boss isn't forthcoming, he steals a bit of stationery on the way out.
Next on my 'hit list' is Santa. Could someone please tell me ... how did he ever catch on? Wouldn't any healthy society have him locked up immediately? I mean, just hang on a second and let me get this straight ....... An ancient overweight Norwegian alcoholic in a stupid red suit and kinky boots with no visible means of support despite his massive wealth, is going to slither down my chimney in the middle of the night, creep into my bedroom and fill my stockings???????
I have a gun and I'm waiting fatboy!!
A couple of years ago I didn't receive many Christmas cards.
On a rather warmish February afternoon this troublesome realization actually came to me out of the back room in my head where all useless information is kept.
But I didn't say anything, I can take it, I am tough. I won't complain when my cheap friends don't even care enough to send me a stupid Christmas card.
The following August, I was mucking around in the garage trying to establish some order in the mess and found, in among the Christmas decorations, a box of unopened cards from the previous Christmas. As I was going to be away over the Christmas period, I had asked my housemate to put any cards I might receive, into a box and I'd open them at leisure. But I ran out of leisure in the usual Christmas panic so they got caught up in the "stuff-them-in-a-box-and-shove-them-in-the-garage-and-we'll-deal-with-it-next-year" syndrome.
I took the box down and in the middle of August, began to open my Christmas cards. Just to help, I put on a Christmas CD and pumped up the volume.
I opened the envelopes and set the cards up on the lawn. There it all was - angels, snow, wise men, candles, pine boughs, horses and sleighs, the Holy Family, elves and Santa. Heavy messages about love and joy and peace and goodwill. If that wasn't enough, there were all these hand-written messages of affection from my cheap friends who had, in fact come through.
I cried. Vary rarely have I felt so bad and so good at the same time.
As fate always seems to have it, I was discovered in this condition by a neighbour who had been attracted to the scene by the sound of Christmas music. She laughed. I showed her my cards and she got weepy too, and we had this Christmas ordeal right there in my back yard, in the middle of August singing along with Neil Diamond to the final mighty strains of "Oh Holy Night" Faaaaalll on yourr kneeeeees, oh heeeeeear the angel voiiiiiices.
What can I say? I guess wonder, joy and happiness are always in the attic of your mind somewhere and it doesn't take a lot to set them off. And so much about Christmas is outrageous whether it comes to you in December or August.
I'd like to wish my brother David, his wife Sue and kids, Ellie and Christopher a wonderful Christmas. Also to all my dear friends, who like me for being me and not in spite of it, and the wonderful friends I've made during the year. To my extended family - all the incredibly nice Twitter people I've encountered - Merry Christmas and peace, happiness and good health for 2016.
Oh, and if anyone sees my parents wandering around, please tell them I'd love for them to come home for one more Christmas. I miss you mum and dad.