I feel compelled to share my observations about my guilty pleasure, as I’ve only just identified it. I’ve had no time off for 18 months and people who know me will know that ‘downtime’ is not my forte. One profound enjoyment I have is my 12 mile bicycle commute, of which more in the spring (there’s more to see in the daylight!). However, at this time of year I find myself curiously able to relax at the weekend thanks to a surfeit of second-rate Christmas films. I’m not talking about the good ones starring people you’ve heard of like Richard Attenborough in Miracle on 34th Street or James Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m talking about the ones with actors you can’t name and never saw again after their one 80 minute outing on Channel 4 or 5. Sitting down on a Saturday afternoon in front of the fire and a crappy Christmas film with a hot chocolate (and a splash of Disaronno – try it!) is my guilty pleasure at this time of year. I have been struck by the four genres they fit into, so here goes. 1) Films set in cutesy upstate New York towns, permanently covered in cotton wool snow 2) films starring (usually an older person) playing the role of a relative of Santa Claus sent to be a moral arbiter 3) films where the hero/heroine is secretly royalty from a fictional country normally in eastern Europe and 4) films where the hero/heroine gets stranded in a remote cut-off village where they go on a ‘journey’ to discover their better self. Naturally, they can be a combination of all of these and have in common terrible dialogue, cardboard good looks and more cliches that you can shake a santa at. However unemotionally involved one feels about them, they are an utterly compelling and relaxing way to re-charge the all important batteries at this time of year. Treat yourself, try it and have a great break one and all!