Christmas seems to get longer every year. I noticed that shopping-channel BidTV started flogging Christmas decorations in September ("Only three more pay-days till Christmas!" !?), Christmas cards started appearing in the shops around August (doesn't matter to me, I've got some left over from last year) and the Christmas lights went up in Regent Street sometime in early June... okay, I might have made that last one up, but you get the picture.
As the build-up gets bigger and bigger, by the time it eventually comes around, the intensity is so excessive that it could never be as good as you'd hoped. This sounds scarily similar to my flatmate Scott's love-making. Our hopes and expectation are so high, that the only result can be a massive emotional let-down. If you're spending Christmas with your family, this is only going to cause conflict and downright animosity. This in itself can lead to a downturn in mood and an upturn in anxiety.
So when things get tough in the Stangroom household, I usually take the dog for a walk. Seriously, by the end of Christmas week, the little bugger could run a marathon he's so fit. Of course, all of this stress coincides with a time of year when most of us eat and drink far too much - there's nothing like a family row to ignite an already simmering hangover. Actually at Christmas time my gut is basically the Grinch, the more festive treats that I throw it's way, the more disgruntled and dismissive it gets.
And this combination of a powerful headache and even more powerful guts is going to cause friction in the most mild-mannered of people, but as I am not the most mild-mannered of people, by the end of the holidays I am at the end of my tether.
In fact all of these attacks on my well-being usually mean that by early in the New Year, my immune-system is so compromised that I spend the first few weeks of January suffering from a heavy cold, flu, and downright suicidal tendencies.
So I often spare a thought during this time to those hardy souls who work and volunteer for phone helplines, graciously helping others with physical and emotional issues that no amount of Santa-hats nor baubles can abate. These are people who give up their time during Christmas to help others, and it is to those people that I will be raising a glass on Christmas day... shortly before I hurl that glass at Grandma and take the dog for another walk.
With all this in mind, we at new youtube channel 'Stinky Mike Comedy' joined forces with Monty Python legend Michael Palin and decided that we'd lend a helping hand by running our very own helpline this Christmas using a celebrity doctor to man the phones! However when fictional doctor Karl Kennedy from Australian soap 'Neighbours' turned up, we realised we were all beyond help.
Here's what happened...