Gather round, one and all, and listen to my tale. For I am very old. Not ancient, I'll give you that. There are people with way more summers under their belts than I. However I can remember when there was no such thing as an Internet.
The computer was something with an eery strange green screen that we eleven-year-olds would be banned from touching in Mr Drury's class. Odd, as we were doing Computer Studies at the time. Even when we graduated to individual BBC Micros a year or so later, the whole idea of an International Network of computers, through which you could communicate, share information, and, yes, view images of people with little or no clothing, was an alien concept.
As a result, for many years Christmas shopping meant actually having to go out to the shops. I know, it's an strange concept, a little hard to get your little heads around. You would have to go into crowded stores, with thousands of other desperate people. There would be the crush the disappointment, the tension, the queues.
And the music. Always the music. "I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day". "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time". "Merry Christmas Everybody". The horror.
Some of us still remember Christmas Eve 1989, New Street, Birmingham. We wear our shared experience like a badge of honour, and greet each other to this day like war veterans.
But now it's so different. This afternoon, Katie has performed pretty much all of our annual seasonal shop. She was sat on her sofa not four feet from me. Every few minutes she would call over as she'd crossed another one off the list. I was comfortable and composed, shoeless and relaxed. I was dressed in loose-fitting garments. I could, if I wished, read the latest edition of Top Gear magazine, or peruse from any number of high-quality daytime TV channels.
At one point I even drifted off to the kitchen to prepare some weapons-grade espresso on Kurt the coffee-maker. (You should know that we give names to inanimate objects in our house. For instance, our cars - Henry Honda and Milo the Mini. We fully intend to grow up at some point).
My only contribution to the Christmas shopping so far this year has been the entering of credit card details on several websites. Which, quite frankly, is no massive hardship.
You can keep your DNA mapping or interplanetary space travel - this truly is the pinnacle of civilised Society. Now, if we could just do something about the wrapping...