The buying of the presents. I used to buy all my presents from my husband, but now my daughter is grown up, she does it for him instead, so at least there is the modicum of surprise for me. It's probably better this way, to be fair. Last time he went 'off piste', I got a pair of self heating gloves and a sandwich toaster.

A Nightingale Christmas Carol

A Nightingale Christmas Carol

The wrapping of the presents. I wrap my presents while watching Holly 'n' Phil on This Morning. I do go a bit overboard with my wrapping, with ribbons, fancy bows, sprayed pine cones and baubles incorporated into the wrapping paper. My husband says unwrapping a gift from me is like taking part in The Krypton Factor.

The dressing of the tree. I like to have a themed tree every year. Which is why we have enough baubles and bits and pieces in our loft to decorate our local branch of John Lewis. Last year's theme was 'Nature', which didn't go down too well with the family. As my daughter said, 'Nothing says Christmas like a few dead squirrels hanging off the tree.'

The collecting of the turkey. We all stroll down to our local butchers to pick it up on Christmas Eve. That's sounds so fancy and Nigella-ish, doesn't it? But everything else comes ready made from Tesco's.

The buying of too many things. I develop a terrible siege mentality at Christmas. I genuinely believe the festive season will be ruined and my family will die if they have to go a full 24 hours without access to Paprika flavoured Pringles.

The cooking of the ham. Every Christmas Eve, I cook a ham. I've always done it, even during the years my daughter was a teenage vegetarian. I don't even care if we end up giving most of it to the cats, I just love the smell that fills our kitchen.

The organisation of the presents. We're not a free-for-all, rip all the presents open at once kind of family (well, it would be a waste of all that co-ordinated wrapping, wouldn't it?). On Christmas morning, everyone opens a present in turn so we can ooh and ah dutifully, not to mention leaving plenty of opportunity for point 8…

The lamentation of the presents. 'It's the wrong size/colour, isn't it?' 'I can change it if you like?' 'It's all wrong, isn't it? Oh, why don't I just walk out into the snow now and you'll never see me again?' Get a grip, you're giving someone a present, not a life-threatening virus.

The lamentation of the Christmas dinner. See above. Only this time the self-flagellation is over the dryness of the turkey/sogginess of the roasties, rather than the size of the jumper.

The forgetting of the sprouts. They always get left at the back of the fridge. Always. Then they just get chucked in a pan at the last minute, instead of being dressed up with chestnuts and bacon lardons, as I planned sometime in November.

A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas is out now.