OUR first festive row happened well before Christmas. It was back in July when my husband and I disagreed on whether or not to buy a string of Christmas lights I spotted in a summer sale in a DIY store.

“Where are you going to put them – there is no way they are going outside!” he barked as I mumbled something about them maybe looking nice strewn around a bush in the garden. That was how they had been put to use in the picture on the box, and it looked so pretty.

But he wasn’t having any of it. A mild fracas ensued, leading to me retreating sulkily back to the car. I didn’t back down - I bought the lights, but they remain in their box.

Our second Christmas fall out came in late November when I spotted Christmas trees on sale and suggested buying one. If my husband had his way we wouldn’t look for one until the last week in December and not put it up until Christmas Eve. I wanted to buy it early to avoid the rush, keep it in a bucket, and put it up a week before Christmas.

So we had words. I got my way, and the tree was - with difficulty - manoeuvred into the car. It went up on December 15 and lovely it is too.

While TV adverts might be filled with families enjoying a harmonious and joyful Christmas, that is not the case for many people, who find themselves embroiled in disagreements as personalities clash and tempers fray.

According to research from Travelodge, the average British family has about five arguments on Christmas Day. One of the most common comes first thing in the morning when young children rise at the crack of dawn eager to open presents, while other members of the family are less enthusiastic about getting out of bed.

Discord was also found to be present in the kitchen where, oblivious to the rest of the family, the person cooking the meal is frazzled and a brief inspection from one of the in-laws asking how the turkey is looking is enough to tip them over the edge.

TV sparks many a row at Christmas. A separate study of 2,000 families by the sleep technology company Simba revealed tempers are most likely to run high over which TV special or film to watch after dinner. That surprises me - in my experience anyone aged between 12 and 35 immediately retreats to the private world of their mobile phone. Many family rows are sparked by this very thing.

Washing-up and who does it, is likely to cause rifts, the study found. Last Christmas I found myself in the dog house for washing-up too soon, when, I was told, I should have remained at the table with everyone else. The problem is I actually enjoy washing-up: being up to the elbow in warm, soapy waters, watching the birds on the feeder outside, is my idea of bliss. I only meant to soak the roasting tins, but once I started I got carried away

At this time of year the overwhelming need to be jolly is pressure in itself and can sometimes leave people on a short fuse. Last year my eldest daughter became annoyed, believing that I had been underwhelmed by her gift and happier with her sister’s present. It wasn’t true. They are both hard-up students and my husband and I encourage them to buy us nothing, and, if they insist, just bubble bath for me and beer for him. It was a misunderstanding.

It doesn’t take much for arguments to erupt at Christmas, especially with alcohol on tap. I’m no authority on peace-keeping, but if there’s a topic of conversation I would avoid at all cost, it’s Brexit.