Traditionally, Christmas is a holiday where individuals put aside their personal interests, and instead open their arms and come together in the warm, loving glow of their family bosom. This is, you will doubtless agree, charming and wholesome and to be thoroughly encouraged. And so, this cheery scene lasts until approximately 2pm on Boxing Day, when the last of the turkey has been put into sandwiches, and the thought of another mince pie induces queasiness. I am sure this is a scenario familiar to many of you.
The problem comes when, after the actual excitement of Christmas has worn off, many of us return to the somewhat colder glow of the television. All of the good shows were aired on Boxing Day, and Christmas postal pressures have clogged up the home delivery DVD service. But never fear, for I have taken the trouble to draw up for you the very finest in television shows, all of which can be snapped up in time for Christmas.
5. The Sopranos
I was very late to table with this iconic American series, a lapse for which I am undoubtedly due some bad karma, but I have certainly made up for it. This superb mafia-based drama is not for the delicate of constitution, but its gritty portrayal of both organised crime, and pressurised family life, will reward you. Retailing for a fraction of its value, this is the definitive offer you cannot refuse.
4. Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
As British comedies go, this is one of the all-time classics. Following the career of Government Minister Jim Hacker, and his constant battles with the Civil Service, embodied by the superb Nigel Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey, the show ran for a total of five series. As Margaret Thatcher has done before me, I can personally attest to the accuracy of this insight into the machinations of British Government.
3. The Inbetweeners
Another British gem, this one from a more recent decade, The Inbetweeners follows the antics of a quartet of hapless, less than cool British teenagers. Filled with appropriately choice language and cringe worthy situations, this is a series that many can relate to. On a side note, The Inbetweeners Movie has also just been released, and makes a perfect end to this great show.
2. The West Wing
Before I go any further, I have to admit that after watching all seven seasons of The West Wing, I am still none the wiser as to how American political systems operate. I don't know how laws are made, and I couldn't spot the difference between a senator and a congressman if I tried. But none of this matters, because this is a show that transcends all need for political nous, and instead relies solely on your interest in the characters to keep you hooked. It works brilliantly. This fast talking, hard hitting, heart-warming series will keep you entertained from now until next Christmas.
1. Family Guy
If ever there was a show to divide public opinion, this is probably it. People either love Family Guy for its incessant jokes, cultural references and crude humour, or they hate Family Guy, also for its incessant jokes, cultural references and crude humour. I certainly fall into the former category, and have no shame in proclaiming as much publicly. This isn't meant to be an alternative to The Simpsons or South Park, it is meant to be an addition, a guilty pleasure, and one that I shall certainly be indulging in during the post-Christmas break.
So there we go, five fantastic shows that can be picked up for next to nothing, and will be guaranteed to keep you entertained well into the New Year.
*Disclaimer: Guarantee is not legally binding
Follow Sam Sheppard on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheSamSheppard