JUST because something comes along at the same time every year, it doesn’t mean it’s good or right and should be looked forward to.

Things like the Boat Race (the biggest sporting non-event of the calendar); trick or treat (a horrible Americanisation of a traditional festival) and the X Factor winner’s Christmas single fit into my list of events that come around with monotonous regularity, but which I could happily do without.

And I can add Christmas to the list.

Not Christmas, exactly.

I quite like the festive season. I like the tradition, the food, families making an effort to be together and a general – if short-lived – uplift in spirits.

But there are are many things I really don’t like about Christmas.

I don’t like the excess, I don’t like families going into debt to fund extravagant presents and I’m not particularly happy that an essentially Christian celebration has been hijacked for us to worship at the altar of commercialism.

The military talk about missions creep.

The fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, describes ‘mission creep’ as the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes.

Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs.

The term was originally applied exclusively to military operations, but has recently been applied to many different fields.

The phrase first appeared in articles concerning the United Nations peacekeeping mission during the Somali Civil War in the Washington Post on April 15, 1993, and in the New York Times on October 10, 1993.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we are now suffering – Christmas mission creep.

When I was growing up, Christmas wasn’t mentioned in our house until the start of December.

This may be an unreliable memory on my part as my birthday is at the end of November and tended to be my priority as the dark nights drew in. My thoughts of Christmas only kicked in once I’d opened my birthday presents.

But so did Christmas advertising, Christmas displays in shops and Christmas cards for sale.

Anyway, back to Christmas mission creep.

Somewhat against my will, I found myself having to go shopping at the weekend to the sort of shops I try to avoid.

These included a well known chain of high street chemists and a women’s clothes shop.

And what did both shops have for sale? You guessed it; Christmas stuff – a classic example of Christmas mission creep.

To be fair to the chemists, its festive offering was pretty low key but the same can’t be said of the clothes shop which had a staggering array of jumpers with snowflakes and reindeer and all the other kitsch Christmas iconography we have come to know and despise.

This is almost three months before the big day and I think it’s fair to say that mission has certainly crept and is showing no sign of stopping.

Some of my colleagues – those not tied to school holidays – have been known to jet off on their holidays in September so thanks to the high street marketing gurus, we now roll straight from summer holidays into the Christmas season without anything in between, effectively dispensing with autumn.

If we look back at Wikipedia’s definition of mission creep and apply it to Christmas, we’re heading for a bit of a disaster. One can only assume those high street shops that have already already launched their Christmas ranges have enjoyed increasing success year on year and this has set them on the dangerous path where each success breeds more ambitious attempts to recapture that success.

Wikipedia warns us this will only stop when we have a final catastrophic failure.

I wonder what that failure may be – Christmas in August perhaps?

Sadly, that ship has already sailed with an upmarket Knightsbridge emporium traditionally opening its Christmas shop in July. The mind boggles.

Regular readers may recall my opposition to the so-called Ice Bucket Challenge. I think it is thoughtless and puts undue pressure on people to do something they don’t want to do and give money to a charity they wouldn’t necessarily.

I thought I had dodged it, mainly because I am not on Facebook and therefore not such an easy target.

But one of my so-called friends nominated me by email, making sure he copied in several other people.

I declined, in no uncertain terms.