Added on 21-Dec-2007
Unless you're one of those extremely organised people (and it's unlikely with all the novel technological goodies complicating our lives), between now and next Tuesday you'll purchase and wrap approximately 312 presents, prepare a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, clean the house, decorate the tree and prepare several hundred hours of family-friendly fun for relatives aged between six and 76. If you're up to your elbows in poultry or have managed to paper-cut your nose off, I recommend other sections of this newspaper. All the gamesblog is qualified to advise on is the entertainment portion of the proceedings, and for that we have several suggestions that might just save Christmas.
There is a plethora of family-friendly software options that provide dual public services: saving the sanity of parents with chocolate-guzzling kids, and preventing the coronaries of middle-aged over-eaters. If you can get your hands on the elusive Nintendo Wii, a few rounds of virtual tennis should burn enough calories to justify skipping the Boxing Day morning run, and the controls are easy enough for even the most ardent games-sceptic to master.
Alternatively, the game most likely to come out in my house this festive season is the PlayStation's SingStar. After a few too many eggnogs, who can resist a rousing rendition of Queen's We Are The Champions? You may want to wait an hour after you eat to play, as wrestling for the mic can cause stomach cramps and other unpleasant side effects.
Of course, the rich feast may prove all too much, and you'd rather stick your head in the oven than flail around with a virtual tennis racquet or warble along with Freddie Mercury. In that case, the Xbox 360's Scene It - the home console adaptation of the hit DVD movie quiz - could be a suitable Queen's Speech replacement. Couch potatoes will welcome this game; the challenge lies between the ears. With a set of controllers featuring several giant buttons reminiscent of the PlayStation's Buzz!, Music, Movie and Sports Quizzes from Christmases past and a very straightforward question-answer format, this is one game where Grandma may have the upper hand.
So, the entertainment's sorted; that's one less thing to worry about over the next five days. And if you find yourself covered in goose fat with no direction: put down the bird, fire up your Nintendo DS and say hello to Cooking Mama - the million-selling cook's training game. If you can thrive under the tuition of a demanding digital Mama with a penchant for poking turkey basters in all kinds of places, Christmas will be a doddle. I guarantee it.