My festive season began early, since the many local Christmas lunches and dinners which I attend started in November.  I love Christmas, so I thoroughly enjoy these events, but by the time I get to 25 December I would cheerfully eat something other than turkey.

Parliament is now officially in recess, but as I write it's after 9.30 pm and I'm sitting in my office in Westminster, surrounded by 500 Christmas cards, trying not to panic - it's less than 24 hours before the last day for posting.

Once again, I've produced a special card featuring a beautiful winter scene of the Downs.  This year I had it designed and printed by a social enterprise in a prison.  I think that it's a good thing if inmates work.

My cards say "Happy Christmas".  They certainly don't say "Season's Greetings".  And I really do object to the idea of re-naming Christmas "Winterval".  The same people behind this lunacy want to change the National Anthem.  Haven't they got anything better to do?

When we all post our cards, we often forget what a great job the postal staff do at Christmas, coping with the huge extra volume of cards and presents.  I was reminded of this when I paid a visit to the Royal Mail sorting office in Pulborough last week.

The local knowledge of the postmen and women is vital.  I hadn't realised that each one of them sorts their own post before setting off on their round.  One postman had arrived at 4am that morning!

Post offices are such an important public service.  I have objected to the proposed closure of Slindon and Washington branches in my constituency.  First we lose hospital services, then police officers, now post offices.

The deadline for submissions on the closures is Christmas Eve.  Then let's forget about the bad news for a few days.  Happy Christmas, everyone!

Michelle Taylor