Not long now until it is properly Christmas.

Then we can all enjoy the season of goodwill to all men (and presumably women).

But spare a thought for all the Scrooges who allow themselves to be led by spite, prejudice and intolerance for 12 months a year, and must find the kindness shown at Christmas especially awful.

With this in mind, I was intrigued when one of the things that washed up on social media last week was what its creator called an ‘Advent of Kindness’.

It was made up of daily acts of kindness for you to do before Christmas Day.

It is all well-meaning enough, but apart from the specific seasonal ones, like tipping the postman, all the suggested acts of kindness are just things that decent people do all year anyway.

Do we really have to be reminded how to be kind?

Let somebody go in front of you at the checkout? Who wouldn’t?

Thank somebody for providing a good service? Who doesn’t?

Give to charity? As John Lennon once said: we’re all doing what we can.

I increasingly despair at the selfish, arrogant and frankly small-minded society this country seems to be turning into, and I constantly have to remind myself that the majority of people really aren’t like that, because most people’s season of goodwill lasts from January to December.

That’s certainly true of all the people I consider friends.

I recently heard somebody complain about ‘do-gooders’, but surely it is the do-badders we should be worried about.

Especially when a certain sector of the media (to quote the Duchess of Sussex) “conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create”.

Some people are therefore happy to echo politicians and bandy words like ‘woke’ and ‘snowflake’ as if goodwill is something to be ashamed of.

With perfect timing - and sometimes I think these things must be fate - on the same day that the Advent of Kindness appeared, I ended up watching a documentary about autism, which nearly passed me by.

It was based on comic actor and presenter Paddy McGuinness, who has three children who are on the spectrum, and his wife has also recently been diagnosed as autistic.

It was touching to find that even a celebrity who maintains a jack-the-lad image didn’t hide his sensitivity and even tears, rightly feeling blessed and proud of his family.

And there was an important message about how frustrating it is to be the parent of autistic children in the face of public intolerance and a reluctance to understand that some people are just different to the supposed ‘norm’.

Once again, I sincerely believe most people just aren’t that mean, but it is no longer good enough just to be kind.

For a start we have to stick together.

More importantly, we have to call out and confront pointless prejudice and ignorant intolerance whenever we encounter it, 365 days a year, and not just in the run-up to Christmas.