It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Erm... OK... maybe.
Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas. I really do. I'm a fan of carols and tucking into a tin of Quality Street (not the coffee creams obviously) while watching Del Boy and Rodney brace themselves to catch that chandelier. They never do, but every time I watch, I think that this time they might - maybe. I love all that.
My problem with Christmas is that I'm not a good actor. A strange correlation you might think? Bear with me.
You see, I'm no good at pretending. In fact, I'm spectacularly bad at disguising my real feelings. This is a big problem because, since I've become a cyclist, the number of rubbish gifts I've received has increased exponentially.
I know this sounds ungrateful, but being identified as a MAMIL seems to have left me cursed to receive cycling-themed novelty tat forever more!
I understand the thought process. It goes something like this: "He likes cycling, that'll make buying a gift easy."
This is because anything cycling related that I'd really like isn't something most people would give as a gift. For example, how would you feel unwrapping chamois cream in front of your family?
"What is it?" asks Grandma.
"Erm... it's a kind of skin cream."
"For your face?"
"No, not exactly."
So there you have it in a nutshell (no pun intended). Chamois cream is a terrible Christmas present, but it is something that, as a cyclist, I'd like to receive.
Similarly, last year my other half bought me a really nice pair of bib tights for Christmas. Big mistake. I felt the mood in the room change as I unwrapped them in front of my in-laws.
"Tights," I said, cheerfully.
"Tights," I repeated.
"Why does he need tights?" was the worried reply.
"For cycling," I said. "And for going to the pub, of course."
I shouldn't have said it, but I couldn't resist the chance to fuel the confounded looks. It still makes me laugh thinking about it now.
Essentially, people are far too embarrassed, or don't feel they have sufficient knowledge to give a present of something really useful. Instead they find themselves entering the mindboggling world of 'cycling gifts'.
To be fair, it's not really their fault! There are so many articles and guides, both online and in print announcing: '10 things the cyclist in your life wants this Christmas'. I think a truer title would be '10 token gestures to disappoint a cyclist with this year'.
I've surveyed the lists and here's a few of my 'favourites':
1. The novelty cycling eggcup
Really? This has to be the last refuge of the gift giver who is totally out of ideas. I've never met anyone who's told me that becoming a MAMIL has completely changed the way they consume eggs. I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount that Chris Froome doesn't refuse to eat his breakfast unless it's served on crockery adorned with images of the peloton. There is only one place for a cycling eggcup: right at the back of a cupboard, or preferably in the bin (when nobody is looking).
2. The cycling themed jigsaw
Why on earth would the image of someone on a bike, pasted to what has to be the world's dullest pastime, turn it into 'the perfect' gift? If you printed the answer to the meaning of life across the front of a jigsaw, I still doubt I could summon the enthusiasm to assemble it.
3. Cycling cufflinks
Novelty cufflinks are only one step away from the piano-key tie in the all-time list of tragic items of clothing. Yes, I'm aware this assertion comes from someone who wears Lycra on a regular basis.
4. The cycling pizza cutter
Need I say more? (For the record, I love my fixie pizza cutter! - Ed)
I've no doubt that there are many of you who are thinking that I don't deserve any presents, with my ungrateful 'attitude'. You're probably right. It doesn't stop me from holding out the vague hope that, this year, someone might get me a present I really want, like a perfectly fitting jersey or a pair of bib-shorts without any sag.
Maybe, just like Del Boy and Rodney, this year I'll actually catch that chandelier.
I can always hope can't I?
Chris McGuire is a writer and cyclist based in Devon. I wouldn't bother buying him a present this Christmas. @McGuireski