There's just no comparison between childhood as it is today and childhood as it was for me back in the 70s.
Sometimes I just feel sorry for my kids. Yeah, they have a great home, nice holidays, all the latest toys and gadgets and a state-of-the art Volkswagen Touran family van to be driven around in, but somehow it just doesn't compare to what our generation had when we were tykes.
I mean, these days, because of fears of crimes, kidnappings and worse, we just don't trust our kids out on their own. Back when I was a little tearaway, I used to have the run of the downs and would routinely rack up close to a hundred miles on my bicycle each week.
Instead, our kids our left indoors to develop RSI and greenish complexions as they click away at the internet or hammer away at some overblown game on the PS3 or XBOX 360.
Yeah, I might drive them to football practice in the Volkswagen Touran, but this form of legislated, prescribed time outdoors just isn't the same as the boundlessness my brothers and I enjoyed – the two don't compare.
The same goes for Christmas. I think that its commercialisation has continued apace since my youth and now the wonder of it all feels a little, well, televised.
It is a useful illustration to compare my Christmas dilemma as a seven-year-old to that of my son today.
When I was seven I heard rumours that Father Christmas might not be real I decided to do some research on the subject so asked around. Expert witnesses included my grandparents, my teacher, my neighbours and an old lady from a couple of streets away. Naturally, I soon discovered that Father Christmas was indeed real and that the rumours were just scandalous nonsense perpetuated by ill-willed humbugs.
Whereas, my son, now seven, when faced with the same doubts, simply went onto Google and asked the question "Is Father Christmas real?"
On receiving conflicting information he then very cleverly went to Wikipedia and soon learnt that Father Christmas is a "fictional figure associated with Christmas".
And if you're a child who's been brought to this webpage with the same question, I just want you to know, yes, he is real and that Wikipedia page, it's been hacked by humbugs – horrid humbugs who are out to destroy the spirit of Christmas.
So, we at Van Compared have a message for you people at Wikipedia: get it sorted, you're in danger of serious misinforming millions of young children – spreading lies and damaging their experience of Christmas!
Happy Christmas, and may it bring you joy and love without compare!