I’M no Scrooge. Last year a friend and I were so disappointed when the British Heart Foundation’s annual Santa Jog in York was cancelled due to flooding, we decided to don our Father Christmas outfits anyway, run madly through the city centre and then head off to Rievaulx Abbey, where we received disapproving looks from the priest leading the carol service.

But this was just a week or two before Christmas. I couldn’t believe it when I was asked a couple of days ago if I was “all ready for Christmas”. It wasn’t even December, and Christmas preparations were and still are the last thing on my mind.

Why does the festive season have to start earlier and earlier every year? York’s Christmas lights have been on since the middle of November and I think the supermarkets have been selling chocolate reindeer since the Easter eggs were taken off the shelves in April.

These days (and although I might sound like my grandmother, I haven’t even been around to see three decades) Christmas seems to be about nothing but commercialism. Every time I venture into the city centre at the moment I have to restrain myself from using my umbrella to thrash my way through the crowds.

I was gobsmacked at the weekend when I rather stupidly attempted to go into Marks & Spencer during the city’s St Nicholas Fayre. The store entrance was rammed full of customers and a member of staff had been given the job of controlling the flow of people on to the escalator.

In one shop, a salesman had a mini ghetto blaster next to him belting out festive music as he tried to flog boxes of biscuits on special offer as if this was the last shopping day before Christmas.

In another shop, I found myself having to bite my tongue when the friendly cashier wished me a happy Christmas as I picked up my purchase and made for the exit. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus – what would my friends think if I started wishing them happy birthday every time I saw them in the two months leading up to their actual anniversary?

If I had not had some urgent errands to do in town this weekend, I would never have set foot inside the Bar Walls.

Walking along Parliament Street was like being in a rugby scrum and if I hear another tacky Christmas tune being played again before it gets to at least December 15, I might actually whack somebody over the head with my umbrella. I’d only be getting my own back, given the amount of times I’ve almost had my eyes poked out with the spokes from other people’s umbrellas.

Yes, I love buying presents for my family and seeing their excited faces when they unwrap them on Christmas Day, but there’s no need for shops to be stocking Christmas gifts from the beginning of September.

I’m well aware that we’re in the middle of a recession and shops are doing everything possible to survive, but I don’t see how encouraging people to shop for Christmas earlier and earlier is going to help, because it just means they’ll be doing it in October or November rather than December.

Why can’t St Nicholas Fayre be in the middle of December? Then I would love to enjoy a glass or four of mulled wine by the fountain in Parliament Street and listen to brass bands play The First Noel.

All the focus on commercialism takes the magic out of Christmas. When you’ve heard Wham!’s Last Christmas for the best part of two months, it doesn’t feel so special when you listen to it on the radio as you’re driving home on Christmas Eve to be with your family.

When I look back at my childhood, I don’t remember the presents I was given, I remember the fun we had as a family – the walks, the games, the laughs.

You don’t need money to have those memories.