Festive gift guidesThere are just 36 sleeps until Christmas and I am beside myself with anticipation. Not for the event itself, but for the festive gift guides that will land on my mat between now and then.

These are the supplements I seek out first when the weekend papers arrive, greedily scanning the covers and putting them somewhere ‘safe’ until I can sit down with a cup of tea (or wine) and a pen, or curl up in bed, and start leafing. So far we have had offerings from companies one never hears of for 11 months of the year, with titles like ‘Museum Selection’ and ‘Heritage Home’. Where do they trade for the rest of the year? And who thinks up their inventions?

Their contents never fail to disappoint. A decanter that can sit at three different angles – ‘sober’, ‘tipsy’ and ‘drunken’, a Jersey Fairisle onesie (for him) and slingshot ‘made with wood from fallen British trees’ are just some of the (pointless) offerings which have caught my eye this year. They get the top of the page folded over if they’re worth taking another look at, or one star with my biro for ‘good idea’, two for ‘great idea’ and three for ‘consider buying’.

Have I actually ever followed through and parted with hard cash for such superfluous items? Of course not! It’s the process that’s important here. It’s very therapeutic. Especially if you use a red pen.

So when the Christmas prep all gets a bit much, have a rummage through the newspaper to find one of these hidden tomes, pour a cup of tea (or wine), curl up in bed and start leafing. Oh, and don’t forget the pen.