At this time of year I feel like I’m being grabbed by the elbow and propelled towards the Christmas I am not yet ready for. Sainsbury’s ‘know Christmas is more than just one day. It’s about a whole season of days’. Apparently it’s not enough to panic buy for one day, and we must cater for the entire duration of the festive season. And to fail to act now means to risk being left behind.

So it comes as a welcome change when a keen salesman suggests I take my time, and promises he won’t keep on calling for fear of becoming a nuisance. Get in touch when I’m ready, he says. Wow. Reflect on the information supplied, he suggests, and the ground covered in the lengthy discussions. The promise of not being called is refreshing. I have a nagging feeling his sales approach is based on reverse psychology: treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen and all that.

The brands that have been jumping up and down about Christmas since September could learn a thing or two. A brand is what a brand does. Unfortunately all the marketing spend throughout the year is undermined by how they behave in the last month. I don’t need to be told that I won’t live up to the standards set by the Tesco, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer or Asda. I still have the Christmas pudding I bought last year, but never used. The tree will remain in its box until the last minute. But don’t panic Mr Sainsbury, all will be well. We will survive, despite your increasingly shrill exhortations to stock up or face disaster.

One nagging question remains: how can brands strike the balance between getting consumers into the Christmas spirit and turning them off with blatant sales spiel?

Tell me what you think.