Dinner's over, open the belt, commandeer the remote; it's Christmas film time
Christmas is about lots of things but mostly it's about falling asleep in front of the television. Having spent the rest of the year dashing about trying to put food on the table/get the kids to school in semi-presentable fashion/ mucking about on Facebook, come December 25 it's like we've all tumbled into a collective time-warp and returned to the late seventies.
Just like our parents back in the day, suddenly we are plonked on a couch, seasonal 'tipple' in one hand, remote control in the other -- and an eternity of empty hours to fill.
Lately TV has become worryingly fashionable,with shows such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men commandeering the zeitgeist.
At Christmas, however, the medium goes retro -- we're hugging ourselves at the prospect of a film we might recently have caught at the cinema being beamed straight into our homes (can you believe it?).
To make life easier this Xmas, here are the movies you need to watch, organised into the circumstances in which they are best enjoyed
You Fancy a Snooze ... .Anything with James Bond In It.
Whether it's Sean Connery looking smug and dapper, Roger Moore sloooowly attempting to raise an eyebrow, Pierce Brosnan reminding you that, yes, he used to be James Bond, or Daniel Craig waxing moody (left), Christmas and Bond were made for each other.
Quite why the sexist adventures of a British undercover agent and the season of universal goodwill should fit so neatly together is a mystery.
You've Hours to Kill Until Dinner is Ready . . . A 'Lord of The Rings' movie
They are shrill and silly, but oh how they wash over you like Balrog-scented bathwater. A straightforward story simply told, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings epics may be fully appreciated while seeing to 10 urgent tasks at once.
You've Got a Spiffing New High Definition TV . . . 'Avatar'
You haven't watched blue aliens hug trees until you've watched blue aliens hug trees in surround-sound HD. It's almost enough to distract from the yawning absence of plot or characterisation.
You Want To Pretend You Are 10 Years Old Again . . . 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'
Not to be confused with Tim Burton's cheap, chintzy remake, recollections of the 1971 original have been seared into the souls of several generations of Irish people.
You're sick of James Bond . . . 'Harry Potter'
With HP and the Half Blood Prince one of RTÉ's big Xmas 'gets' perhaps 007 should worry that his cherished place at the heart of the Christmas TV schedule is under threat. The bespectacled wizard is the perfect seasonal distraction.
You Want To Be Reminded About The True Meaning of Christmas . . . 'Elf'
Will Ferrell's mugging performance as one of Santa's actual elves adrift in a department store in the throes of pre-Christmas frenzy reminds us what December 25 truly represents: full-throttle consumerism and Santa. SANTA!
You REALLY Want to Be Reminded About the True Meaning of Christmas . . . 'The Muppet Christmas Carol'
Alongside Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Coca Cola's vision of Santa as a jolly fat man in red and white fur, modern Christmas was largely spun into being by Dickens' A Christmas Carol. There are many cinema versions. Surely the best is the Muppets' 1992 tilt at the yarn. It will warm the cockles in places you didn't realise had cockles.
You Want To Watch Something With The Kids . . . 'Cars'
There are smarter, more elegant Pixar films and there is, of course, Shrek with its single entendres gags for the grown-ups. However, if you are thinking of your kids you'll slap on Cars, an animated feature that any six- year-old will find irresistible.