This year, I first heard the C word on about October 20. As we lurch towards the end of 2019, it’s springing up again and again, usually abetted by some sort of commercial imperative. It may well be a one-day public holiday, but Christmas – there, I’ve said it – now seems to consume an entire quarter. I’m no Scrooge. I’ll happily gobble any number of mince pies, subscribe heartily to the concept of peace and goodwill to all men, women and transgender folk, tingle to renditions of The Holly and the Ivy , and welcome presents of any description (see the bottom of this column for my home address). But 24 hours of Christmas is sufficient. It started well enough, with a rather slick rebranding of what had been the winter solstice. Christmas trees, wreaths and yule logs are all descendants of that logical pagan tradition – shortest day of the year, longest night, better appease Whoever’s In Charge Up There in case it goes on like this because it’s quite chilly now. I’ve no quarrel with the concept of Christmas, per se. But as well as the marketing campaigns – enthusiastically mimicked in mainland Chinese cities, right down to shopping malls installing snow-making machines – I have to contend with the compulsory jollity, starting with relatives and ending with the alcohol-fuelled freak show better known as the office party. Shudder. More importantly, there’s the environmental impact. Academics around the world have delved into this and come to some startling conclusions. For example, of all the toys greeted with squeals of joy on Christmas morning, nearly half will be broken or binned by March; a single city of half a million generates 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste; festive lighting not only drains electricity supplies, it disorientates wildlife; manufacturing a kilo of wrapping paper generates 3.5kg of carbon dioxide. And then there’s the trees cut down and food left uneaten. In short, ’tis the season of environmental disaster. I cling to my sanity by turning a blind eye to the barmy Christmas brouhaha, celebrate on December 25 only, and – like the holly and the ivy – stay as green as possible. By the way, the address for – unwrapped – presents (Sorry, we’re out of space. Editor).