LAURA CARTLEDGE: Holey tights, cold nights, people rushing '“ it's nearly Christmas

WITH less than five weeks until Christmas it's fair to say I am starting to panic.

A bit like the white rabbit, only not in Alice’s Wonderland but dazed in the festive headlights of a train... which looks remarkably similar to the Coca Cola truck.

I know I should have seen it coming. The signs were there as soon as the portable heaters came out of hibernation; plugged in and placed next to our desks they happily aim their warmth everywhere but where it is needed.

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It’s tempting to scowl at the ceiling, which I am sure is rather toasty, as I resist the temptation to put my gloves back on.

I am very good at blocking Christmas out, but it’s everywhere and for a very long time.

Shops brimming with baubles become a blur as I turn all my focus to the pressing issues, such as the quest to find the perfect tights.

As the women in my office surrender perfectly good lunch breaks to the cause and compare notes over whether putting socks under or over them helps prevent ladders.

The men look to each other for support and ask in a whisper – “If there were no holes how would you get into them?”

Speaking of questions why is it so hard to answer: “What would you like for Christmas?”

Maybe because you have to answer it?

Godmothers and great aunts have already asked your nearest and dearest to find out for them and have asked you to find out what your nearest and dearest want in return.

You can almost picture them, wrapping paper at the ready, waiting for the reply.

Woolly hats off to them for being so organised but there is something wrong about listing wants for the sake of it.

Especially as, at the moment, all I need is more time.