No wonder so many people across the United Kingdom feel Christmas is overly commercialised. It's still October yet many stores are already geared up for the big day, the 25 December.
Yesterday evening I headed into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, shopping for a new suit. Walking along Northumberland Street I noticed a huge illuminated Christmas sign above the entrance to the Eldon Square Shopping Centre. Yet it's October.
That sign will be burning energy for nigh on two months yet. Why? That's at least a month too long. In my opinion all Christmas decorations should remain packed away until the beginning of Advent.
The Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany (© Stuart Forster - photographed in December).
Surely less would be more when it comes to displaying Christmas decorations? Yes, enjoy the run up to Christmas - celebrate the season - but only at the right time of year.
We haven't even had Halloween or stood around our bonfires to watch fireworks exploding in the sky on Guy Fawkes Night. The clocks have only just gone back. It's too soon to be thinking of Christmas.
It makes me angry enough to invoke the name of the fella whose birth we celebrate on 25 December.
There's something badly awry in this nation when people accept it as normal that Christmas is being promoted during October. No wonder some people fall out of love with Christmas. No wonder some feel Advent is exploited.
People enjoying stalls at the Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany (© Stuart Forster - photographed in December).
Perhaps any government taking steps to limit the duration that Christmas decorations can be displayed would run the risk of unflattering comparisons with Scrooge? Would doing so be a pointless exercise in intervention or would it help protect society's vulnerable from racking up debt?
The men's clothing floors of the department stores I visited were packed with potential gift items, such as slippers and dressing gowns. They're clearly ready for Christmas shoppers.
I needed to purchase toiletries too. Trawling the aisles of a couple of shops, I noticed far more gift sets that the last time I was in town on the hunt for deodorant.
Popping into my building society I saw a shoddy looking Christmas tree perched on a desk. Of course I find it disappointing they too are displaying 'seasonal' decorations almost two months ahead of Christmas Day. Strangely though, I also think it's mildly offensive that a financial institution can't do a better job of its Christmas decorations.
Don't get me wrong. I really don't see anything wrong with embracing and celebrating Christmas; when it's that time of year.
Those pseudo-liberal stances - in which councils display stars and snowflakes but avoid mentioning Christmas - strike me just as bizarre as switching on Christmas lights during October.
Christmas decorations at a market stall in Stuttgart, Germany (© Stuart Forster - photographed in December).
Over the past couple of weeks I've been working over in the Netherlands. I noticed stores gearing up for Sinterklaas, a festival in honour of St Nicholas that's celebrated on the 5 and 6 December, by stocking chocolates and other types of sweet. There didn't seem to be the same degree of overkill as here in the United Kingdom. If course it was commercialism but it was tastefully done.
"Christmas seems to be getting earlier every year," complained a woman on the Metro in Newcastle.
Why is the commercial exploitation of Christmas so readily accepted in the United Kingdom? Why don't people make an effort to lobby their Member of Parliament for change? Why don't Britons register complaints at the stores and malls displaying Christmas signs and décor unseasonally early?
I hope next year things will be different. It's all I want for Christmas.
A Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany (© Stuart Forster - photographed in December).