Christmas means something different to each of us.
For some it is a month-long binge of see-through beer and turkey in every possible form, while others take the opportunity to 'nerd it up’ via their selection of novelty Yuletide jumpers – they were mildly amusing 10 years ago folks, but not any more.
Then we have those who go full It’s A Wonderful Life-meets-The Snowman and embrace the sentiment of 'it's the season of goodwill', skipping around topped to the brim with the festive spirit for the duration of Advent.
They may even go to church more than once during December. In recent years, I have fallen into this last category, as I always take the Christmas experience by the antlers.
While I am not allowed to light up the outside of the house like Blackpool seafront – I have been informed that is a slam dunk grounds for divorce – Christmas films including the risible Home Alone 3 are permitted every day and my skin-tight Rudolph onesie has become notorious in our social circles.
Again, I have been told it is the spare room for me until March if I even consider wearing it to the Christingle service.
My thirst for all things festive has snowballed since fatherhood and I put this down to the need to create a new, lasting Christmas tradition for my fledgling family. After all, what is Christmas if we don’t have tradition?
For a sizeable proportion of the population, they don’t feel at all festive until about 3.10pm on December 25, which is when the Queen’s Christmas message is usually delivered. For others, it doesn’t begin until The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is given its first annual airing on the radio – this year that happened on November 23, the day of its 30th anniversary.
Apart from the standard routine of spending time with loved ones, the Christmas tradition I cherish above all others is making the Boxing Day pilgrimage to Fratton Park, to watch the South’s number one football team.
It is something I first did as a young lad back in the mid-1980s when, naturally, we were beaten comprehensively. It was my first time at a match and not only did I become instantly hooked on Alan Ball’s blue and white army, but the need for festive footy was instilled in me there and then.
Going to the match on Boxing Day, while it is something that millions of us have done for generations, always feels a little bit naughty – like I am in some way leaving the bosom of one family to spend quality time with another. A match day bigamist if you will.
If the on-field action is dire, my favourite Boxing Day game is to spot the Christmas presents – the virgin Stone Island jackets which the wearer received some 24 hours earlier or the pair of unspeakably white box-fresh trainers. Then there are the pragmatists who take their turkey sandwiches along for a half-time snack.
If I can’t get along to Fortress Fratton in person, then there is always Sky’s ‘Uncle’ Jeff Stelling and co to break up the monotony of repeated movies and reassembling Lego snowmobiles.
Football is the one Christmas tradition I am determined to pass onto my kids as I am pretty sure the Rudolph onesie will not survive that much longer.