Christmas is well and truly upon us. And whether you love it or hate, there's no escaping the forced festivities the period brings.
From Christmas trees to tinsel and from snowmen to stockings, Noel is in full swing and even the grumpiest among us are heckled to get into the spirit.
I err on the more cynical side of the celebrations. Coming from a broken home, Crimbo is more a time of worry than wonder. Who do I spend Christmas day with? Whose feelings will I hurt? Will I have to get a loan to purchase plenty of presents for my hugely extended family? Will they even like them?
Tis the season to feel stressed.
Add that to downright dodgy Christmas jumper days, decking my overpriced flat with overpriced decorations and being forced to have aaaall the fun - it's no surprise that my inner grump is growling in exasperation.
But I'm lucky. While I do sit on the 'hater' side of the fence, those close to me know it's really a bit of an act. That secretly I'm excited to spend Christmas morning cringing at my mum's dodgy carol singing. That, really, I live for the family Boxing Day gathering; arguments an' all.
Relative to many, my circumstances are positively joyful. I'll have a festive feast on Christmas day, and I'll spend most of it arguing over eggnog with my nearest and dearest. Maybe it's not so bad after all.
But, for some, it is.
So if you're excited about elves, psyched for your secret Santa and joyous about jingle bells, please find a moment to stop and think about those who are worse off than you. I'm a self-professed scrooge, and I can take the stick that comes with the territory. But give a second's thought to those who can't; the woman sat quietly in the office while you regale tales of turkey and all the trimmings, the man at the Christmas party moping by the mulled wine. Don't be too quick to judge. Maybe they're not scrooges after all.
For many, Christmas is an exhilarating time of year. But for plenty, it isn't. From the lonely lady in a care home to the single mum who can't give her children all they've come to expect, the festive period can be fraught with ill feeling. And I actually feel lucky for having had a stark reminder of this at work. It doesn't hurt to be humbled.
At Ovarian Cancer Action, we've asked supporters to write a message on a bauble for our tree. As I wrote one for a friend, and read those others sent in, I couldn't help but shed a tear for all those who've lost loved ones. And for that grounding, I'm grateful.
This scrooge is going to try to get into the spirit for all those who have a real reason to be reticent.
So, enjoy a very merry Christmas and a have a joyous Noel. But before you judge, please, take a moment to think about those less fortunate than you. Christmas is a time for caring, after all.