A quick glance at the December fixture list - which Early Doors is contractually-obliged to describe as either packed, hectic and/or gruelling in a strict rotation - reveals that Premier League teams are all set to play five matches between this fortcoming weekend and the turn of the year.
Sky have reintroduced their nifty little snowman-based idents for this pivotal ('pivotal', that's another one) stage of the season, resurrecting the ghost of the departed Andy Gray via clips of his commentary in those seasonal vignettes.
Club megastores are now chock-full of festive merchandise for relatives with no imagination to buy their loved ones. This year, why not buy that special someone a Chelsea toaster? How about an Arsenal garden gnome? Or even a defecating Andres Iniesta?
You would think that would be enough to keep most managers occupied, but there are a couple of bosses already preparing for the loss of key players when they head off to the African Cup of Nations in January.
The Ivory Coast is by far the main nation snatching top players out of the English domestic calendar. Manchester City will lose brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure for the tournament which begins on January 21, while Chelsea will be denied the services of striker Didier Drogba and forward Salomon Kalou for the biennial jamboree, this time being jointly-staged in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
John Obi Mikel will be staying in at Stamford Bridge (Chelsea fans, rejoice!) after Nigeria failed to qualify, and Ghanaian team-mate Michael Essien will not recover from his long-standing knee injury in time to travel.
Newcastle United will also lose an Ivorian, midfielder Cheik Tiote, as well as Senegal striker Demba Ba. Forward Mame Biram Diouf may be joining up with Ba, although how much of a loss Manchester United fans will consider him, even with a whole raft of first-team players out injured, is open to question.
The same goes for Moroccan duo Marouane Chamakh and Adel Taarabt leaving Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers respectively. The temptation to change the locks at the Emirates Stadium and Loftus Road while those two are out of town will be hard to resist.
So it is the losses of Yaya Toure and Drogba which are set to be the ones which will have the biggest effect at the top of the table.
City have pre-empted the secondment of their midfielder by agreeing special dispensation for the midfielder to join up with the squad late. The Elephants have waived their right to call him up two weeks before the start of the tournament so that he can play two key fixtures for City.
Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on January 8 in a competition listed on City's website as 'The FA Cup with Budweiser', and then host Liverpool three days later in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final.
Chelsea may try to seek the same leniency, although fixtures against Portmsouth and Sunderland may not have the pressing urgency to convince Ivory Coast to do without their captain.
It is a move which has left Yaya Toure "guilty and confused" due to his eagerness to return to his homeland, which has been thrown into turmoil by post-election violence that the UN reports has claimed the lives of around 3,000 people.
The Guardian reports the 28-year-old as saying: "Our country needs people like myself and Didier Drogba because there is a war and it's important we do what we can for our people, but this is also a crucial time of the season.
"There are two crucial months coming up and now I am going to miss one of them. The team, the club and the manager need me, but I will have to go away and play in a different competition.
"It's difficult as I am very focused for City and we need all the players. I have to go because my country is going through some difficult things, but I am a little bit guilty and confused about it."
With all their free-wheeling, high-scoring antics this season it has been the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli who are hogging most of the plaudits this season, but Yaya Toure has been quietly carrying on being one of City's most important players.
As much as his insistence that there are players in the squad who can deputise for him in his absence, none of Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong or a half-fit Owen Hargreaves will be able to offer anything like what the former Barcelona man brings to the City team.
Chelsea's concerns will be almost as pressing. While a report in one paper this morning that the club is ready to sell Fernando Torres in January for £20 million can easily be dismissed as utter tosh, the Spaniard hardly looks a ready-made replacement for the resurgent Drogba.
With two of the Premier League's top players set to be taken out of the game for a month, events 3,500 miles away could yet play a big part in the destination of the title.
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Despite the departures of key players among the top clubs, the African exodus in January could have hit the Premier League a lot harder.
Arsenal fans will be relieved to see the in-form Alex Song will not be taken from them due to Cameroon's failure to qualify, something which also means Tottenham won't lose defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong.
The bizarre decison of African governing body CAN to banish Togo following their bus being attacked by terrorists at the 2010 tournament has now been lifted, but they failed to qualify so Spurs will also not have to deal without Emmanuel Adebayor for a month next year.
Blackburn's struggle against relegation will not be hampered by the losses of Aiyegbeni Yakubu (Nigeria) and Chris Samba (Congo), West Brom will not miss Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria), Somen Tchoyi (Cameroon) or Youssouf Mulumbu (DR Congo) and Martin O'Neill is free to plot Sunderland's revival with both Ahmed Elmohamady (Egypt) and Stephane Sessegnon (Benin) at his disposal.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Over the past year he has had several absence periods which we have attributed to a viral illness in order to respect his right to medical confidentiality. Darren has, in fact, been suffering from ulcerative colitis (a chronic inflammatory bowel condition) for some time preceding this. Whilst he was able to maintain remission of symptoms for a considerable period this has proved more difficult recently and Darren's continued desire to play and his loyalty to both his club and country has probably compromised the chances of optimising his own health and fitness." - Manchester United reveal that midfielder Daren Fletcher will be taking an "extended break" from football in order to recover from his rather nasty sounding illness. Fletcher absence means United are set to miss nine first-team players for the Christmas fixtures.
FOREIGN VIEW: "I've got a plan. If they agree to my request we are allowed 15 or 16 players on the field, I think we have a chance!" - Al Sadd's Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati reveals his masterplan for beating Barcelona when the Qatari side meet the European champions in Thursday's Club World Cup semi-final.
COMING UP: A Wednesday morning treat for you at 10:30 as we have live coverage of Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol taking on Brazilian giants Santos at 10:30.
Before that we'll be putting Liverpool's Luis Suarez under the microscope, while Jim White will be filing his latest blog.