Apparently Christmas is nearly here, although we'd have had no idea without these tell-tale yuletide signs...
Your game apps get an update
The “update” being there's a level coated in snow and the main character's wearing an elf hat. Well worth £0.69 of anyone's dosh.
Adverts get festive
Run out of Live Pause on your PVR this time of year and you'll have to endure TV ads trying to sell you frozen prawn vol-au-vents and ordering you, in a deep voice of doom, to “not let this dog die alone this Christmas”. Beware the yearly mawkish John Lewis ad if you've been on the Baileys; there's nothing dignified about a grown man sat on the sofa sobbing into his prawn vol-au-vents.
The party email circulates
Nothing gets the festive spirits soaring like the glamour of an Outlook invite addressed to “” asking you to confirm your attendance to the office party. Cue frantic emailing as everyone requests a seat away from the office bell end. Never done that? We're afraid it's you.
The turkey bashing begins
The usual food writers and bloggers wheel out regurgitated articles on why they don't cook boring, old turkey at Christmas, and have beef or goose or antelope instead. The world ignores them and pre-orders a gobbler to avoid the Christmas Eve turkey-panic stampede.
The big coats come out
Deeper pockets means more places to store your gadgets, and disguise the inevitable effects of…
Mince pie season begins
As December draws near you become Man vs Food and Man vs Booze combined. You're eating a cheeky mince pie in November and by the end of the month you've slid into microwaving buckets of mini sausages while your “real” dinner cooks, “just in case anyone wants one”, even though you live alone. By the time December hits even the calendars contain chocolate.
You brave the shops again
Remember shops? You haven't been in one since last Christmas, but for some reason you think a present not bought online is more “special”, rather than just more expensive and awkward to source.
People say TV is getting better
But it isn't really, is it? It's just filled with dramas about Edwardian people, alcoholic maverick detectives and another Jack the Ripper mystery, interspersed with nobodies crying because Tulisa has called their karaoke “not one million and one percent”. It's okay, you only have to hold out until your Christmas stash of boxsets arrives.
“I've already done all my shopping”
Thanks to the magic of online, people start posting this phrase on Facebook as early as October, so we've devised this simple game: the first person to say this, remove their skin and wear it as a Santa hat.
You think you're a billionaire
“£50 on a round? Sure! £300 on a bright orange trench coat? Looks good! £60 on socks? What fun! I'll worry about it in January!” It's the equivalent of when you stop doing any work on Thursday afternoon, thinking Monday will never come, but on a dizzying, bankrupting scale.