IT used to be that November was a no-man’s land of a month. The dreary page on the calendar that folk couldn’t wait to tear off so they could get cracking on Christmas.

Let’s face it, once the last of the colourful leaves fall from the trees, the stark sight of bare branches coupled with ever-dwindling daylight hours can make for a soul-sapping combination.

Navigating through November stokes the same impatient restlessness as being stuck aboard a plane circling in a holding pattern. The fasten seatbelt sign is on. You desperately need the loo. Everyone is fidgety. Time is elastic.

After what feels like an eternity, the glittering lights of the runway finally come into view – or December 1 in this laboured analogy – and the good times roll.

Well, that’s how it used to be. Nowadays there is little pause for breath. Barely have the last Halloween guisers departed and the sagging jack-o’-lanterns been thrown on the compost heap, than Christmas is limbering up in the blocks.

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Firing the starting gun on November 1 was the singer Mariah Carey who, clearly keen to get the royalties rolling in for her new single and upcoming Apple TV+ special, released a video of herself smashing up pumpkins with a candy cane-striped baseball bat. The clip was accompanied by the ominous slogan: “It’s Time.”

Hot on her sparkly high heels: John Lewis. The department store chain unveiled its Christmas advert last week, depicting a UFO crash and a chaste kiss between an extraterrestrial girl and a human boy. I wasn’t sure what it was selling. Are they teaming up with Jeff Bezos to offer space flights?

Coming up on the outside lane: the obligatory gimmicky item. Heinz has announced a limited-edition Christmas Dinner Big Soup, offering an entire meal in a tin (it does look rather tasty – things have come a long way since the dim and distant days of soggy Fray Bentos pies).

HeraldScotland: Christmas dinner with all the trimmings including Brussels sprouts. Picture: GettyChristmas dinner with all the trimmings including Brussels sprouts. Picture: Getty

The dark horse punt: could Brussels sprouts go the way of the Dodo? According to a new survey by Tesco, nearly three-quarters of those aged 18-24 will be giving the festive staple a wide berth.

This is a bombshell revelation. Even though sprouts are the veg equivalent of Mrs Brown’s Boys – tasteless, foul and no one ever admits to being a fan – we always eat them. It is tradition. Mandatory, even.

Well, it seems the bold Gen Z (those born after 1997) are ripping up the rulebook. Not only do sprouts face being “cancelled” – as the parlance goes – but the concept of a formal, sit-down dinner with all the trimmings is also on the outs. Instead, the “Christmas brunch” is gaining traction.

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You have to admire that gumption. If Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) have earned a reputation for being an insipid and whiny bunch, then Gen Z clearly have backbones of steel. As a middle-aged Gen X slacker over here, I am oddly in awe of that verve.

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