The run-up to Christmas (noun): any time after the end of the Back To School! promotion, typically mid-September.Of course, for most of the rest of us, the run-up to Christmas has a slightly more reasonable start date. Some favour the middle of November, whilst others of us try our hardest to hold out until the first week of December. But all of this just compounds the problem, as I see it; Christmas shouldn't need a run-up at all.
Things which are difficult need a run-up. If you need to jump over a particularly wide gap (for whatever reason that may be!) and you're not sure you're going to make it, you take a run-up. Sportsmen need a run-up to try and maximise performance. We use a run-up to gather momentum, when we know we will really need to exert ourselves.
Christmas shouldn't be like that. We should be able to relax, at Christmas - to spend time with family and friends. It should be a time to unwind, and enjoy ourselves. We shouldn't need to take a run-up, before entering the fray, eyes wide, arms flailing, hoping only that we emerge unhurt at the other side. We should be able to enjoy all the great things about Christmas - and there are many - without letting it get on top of us.
Personally, I feel it's much easier to enjoy Christmas - Christmas as it should be - without all the retail hype. Without the run-up.