THE office Christmas party has been booked for months, the girls’ night out has had precision planning and the spirit of Christmas fun will descend on to the stage of comedy clubs the length and breadth of the country.

My size-six feet will be firmly planted at the glorious Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow for a week as me and my fellow clowns go into battle… Gigs at Christmas tend to be different than at any other time of the year – there’s always a slight frisson in the air as people let their hair down as the year nears its close and where the mere thought of spending just one day with Auntie Alice needs a night of humour to help cope.

Christmas is a time for families loved or otherwise and I get quite childlike at the anticipation of stockings and Santa and all the little traditions that have been passed down through the generations. The satsuma will be in the toe of every stocking despite the fact that not one of my children will eat them and silly Santa will have left the price on at least one of the magical gifts.

One of the traditions that we have in our household and that I’m led to believe by others is essentially child abuse is that no presents get opened on Christmas day until noon – it’s a ceremony, one present at a time handed to the recipient whilst all eyes watch it being unwrapped and ooh-ed at before moving on to the next.

It’s a process that can take literally hours and something I never questioned as a child when my parents performed the same ritual. It’s one that my children never questioned initially but did come to a head a few years ago as they complained that they could see all their friends on social media having opened their presents and happily sharing the news of their haul via their new shiny smartphone that they’d unwrapped hours previously. So, the following year, I gave into their demands and let them open their gifts as soon as they got up.

Just seeing their faces after the presents were opened at breakneck speed and over before the sun had even had a chance to rise was priceless, as each and every one of them declared “can we never do that again please?” So the long-held tradition of waiting with anticipation is firmly back in place and I fully expect it to be inflicted on to the next generation.

Some things should never change but others really should. My habitual bulk buying for a start, purchasing enough bread to start my own farm shop – but it’s such a difficult thing to persuade my brain to remember that shops won’t be shut for weeks on end and that 16 litres of milk is probably enough to get us through a day.

The other thing I also need to remember is where I’ve stashed the presents that I started buying back in September. Every year, without fail, I will buy bits and pieces, wrap them, hide them thinking no one will find them here (including me, it turns out) as I stumble across gifts in February and chastise myself for forgetting to give them to the intended person. It’s particularly annoying when I know how much they would’ve loved a puppy!

No puppies were harmed in the making of that joke, and remember dogs are for life not just for Christmas.) So as the season gets into full flow and we pat ourselves on the back for managing to get through another assault on our wallets, it’s not everyone that gets to spend time with their families or friends, and people who won’t be on the work night out due to their own personal circumstances. But one thing we can all give each other is the gift of laughter.

Go have yourselves a very Merry (drink responsibly) Christmas and a happy (don’t get smashed) New Year, and when you’ve taken just about enough of the boss telling the same joke 20 times, then beat a path to your nearest comedy club, and let the professionals have you slayed and the unalterable tradition of hearing Slade wherever you go.

At the Stand Comedy Club, Woodlands Road, December 9-13, Jojo Sutherland introduces Liam Farrelly, Damian Clark, Bruce Morton and Gary Little