KELLY BR0WN Mum’s the Word...Am I the only one feeling this pre-Christmas sense of panic?

Yes I know it is really stupid but a sense of panic is starting to hit me about Christmas.

Is it because I seem to be the only one who has not started my Christmas shopping (except men – who always leave it late)?

Is it because I am looking out of the window of the Observer’s Chichester office and can see the festive lights in all their glory while they are being tested?

It could be because I know the last postal date will be far earlier than I think it is (happens every year) which gives me less time than I think.

Is it because I have absolutely no idea what to get anyone this year – and no-one knows what they want?

Perhaps it is because every supermarket seems to have started their pre-Christmas drive to get you to spend your money with them this season.

Or is it a combination of the above?

Okay, so I know I have five weeks until the big day so I have plenty of time to get myself sorted.

Well in theory anyway. Because when I start thinking about when I will actually hit the shops I am at a real loss.

In two weeks’ time I have my first Christmas family meal (which is very early because it is the only day we can all do). Needless to say I am staying away from the turkey – November is just too early!

Lunchtimes seem doable in theory but in practice I just do not have the time, no matter my good intentions.

Weekends are a write-off because I refuse to spend my day off fighting through the crowds and queuing.

And of course one of the weekends will be dedicated to putting up the tree.

So that leaves ... Oh.

Of course I could embark on an internet shopping spree, or order everything at the high street shops for collection getting it all out of the way in one go.

But after staring at a computer all day it is the last thing I want to do when I get home.

I have cunningly booked the week off before Christmas to get those last bits and bobs done.

I really will try to get it out of the way but I suppose I should accept the inevitable that my restful week off will in fact be spent at the shops. Rubbish!