There was an interesting question from Jan Greenwood on Facebook today: "Is it reasonable to assume that all-year Christmas shops don't have after-Christmas sales?"
The answer - as all-year Christmas shops are good enough to be open about - is that there's no 'after-Christmas' any more. Like children, but with fewer grounds for it, we live in a perpetual state of pre-things.
Unlike children, we are encouraged to do so, and it must be said that we respond magnificently and above all with great financial generosity.
For example, it is now the pre-Valentine's Day period. When that's over, although Easter eggs will already have been in the shops for a fortnight or so, we will be pre-Easter, then warming up during the pre-Summer Holiday period, pre-Hallowe'en before the tan has faded, pre-Bonfire Night, with fireworks a fortnight either side of November 5th, and finally (except it isn't) and with barely enough time to catch an autumn chill, pre-Christmas again.
The only thing we prefer not to be thought of as pre- is the one thing all of us are, and that's death, which only those we leave behind are authorised to celebrate - in the nicest possible way of course.