Jayne Dawson: Don't touch that tinsel!

Repeat after me: "It's still Christmas." Go on, say it. And again: "It's still Christmas".

I know, bossy old me. But, come on, you know why. Because about now it's easy to forget, isn't it?

If Christmas was a big festive balloon, today it would be looking a bit sorry for itself, wouldn't it?

It wouldn't be all floaty and bouncy and happy, somewhere up near the ceiling, it would be lolloping along at floor level, all deflated and sorry for itself.

It would look like it was practically begging you to stick a pin in it and put it out of its misery.

But that's wrong. Until you have had your New Year's Day walk/trip to the pub/first row of the year it is, I believe, your duty, my duty, everyone's duty to keep the Christmas balloon floating.

That's because, and I'm sorry to have to point out the obvious, Christmas happens but once a year and so we have to savour it.

I know it's tempting to put it behind you, as with all traumatic experiences. I know there is a little part of you, or maybe a big part of you, that wants to move on. But resist.

If the house seems hot, cluttered and full of relatives, leave it that way.

Do not sweep away those bits of broken toys just yet, and do not push those rellies out the door just yet. Leave them be.

Similarly, do not guiltily scrunch up that lovely wrapping paper that you vowed to recycle when first you spied it on Christmas morning, and do not furtively bin those pretty bows you decided, in the first flush of Christmas morning enthusiasm, you could re-purpose as lovely tree decorations.

Do not start making a pile of all the unwanted stocking fillers that members of your household received this year. And do not start edging that pile towards the door, in a bin bag.

Just leave it. Leave it all. Embrace the detritus of the secular, materialistic feast that is the modern Christmas, because this is the one time of year that you can.

Turning to the fridge, because much of Christmas is fridge-based, live with those leftovers for a while longer yet. Alright, you may have given up the ghost on the sprouts, because five-day old sprouts do represent a culinary challenge, but there are foodstuffs in there that are not yet beyond salvage.

Pork pie with pickles, with a side helping of chips, followed by a slice of cake and a big dollop of double cream fills any gap very nicely, I find.

And if you are stuck for ways to use up those four litres of cream you decided on Christmas Eve that you had better have on standby in the garage, just in case, then I am here to tell you that a big splodge will go very nicely on your breakfast cereal – and don't knock it till you tried it, I say (Sugar Puffs are the best).

Sherry trifle will last a very long time, especially if it is made in the traditional festive style and is more of a sherry-with-trifle, so resist that urge to feed it to the birds. For one, it's probably not good for them to fly around your garden in a tipsy condition, and for another you will enjoy it so much more – try it on your Sugar Puffs.

If you can't stomach any of that for those post-Christmas pre-New Year breakfasts then simply eat chocolate, or Turkish Delight.

Do not, whatever you do, decide that Christmas is over, bag up all the remaining sweets in the house, and tell your partner to hide them.

Christmas isn't over. And besides, you will only waste hours tomorrow searching all the cupboards for the bag of stash .

Finally, step away from the decorations. Really. I mean it. Just leave them be.

Do not, under any circumstances, start to dismantle any festive element of your home decor.

If the tree is real it may well be drooping a little by now. If it was bought without roots then it may well be completely naked by now and you, your family and your cat will probably be saving the vacuum machine a job by collecting all of its fallen needles in your feet every time you cross the room. Put up with it. It is all part of the festive experience.

If the tree is artificial, any number of things could have happened: a child may have tried to take it for a walk, a pet may have tried to eat it, a visitor may have ended up sitting in it. A tree in your house is a funny thing: expect anything.

No matter. Do not give in to the temptation to put it in the loft and make all orderly again.

This is not the spirit of Christmas. Christmas is about embracing the mess, the disorder, the lack of structure. it's about stepping out of your routine. It's all good, so keep it up because, remember, it is still Christmas. Good luck.

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

New campaign targets cartels as tip offs rise by a third