If Wayne Rooney awakes on Christmas morning to find that long desired Hornby train set at the bottom of his bed, he will have just a couple of hours in which to assemble and play with it before he must report for "light training" with Ebenezer Ferguson. Meanwhile, across the Channel, Yoann Gourcuff will be free to spend the entire day tearing round on his new tricyle or sitting happily on his daddy's knee. Gourcuff père - who currently manages Ligue 1 side Lorient - can forget tactics and turn his attention to turkey and TV.
Thus the Gourcuffs will enjoy all the magical elements that make up a typical family Christmas: too much food and booze, the constant threat of an almighty argument, 'Trivial Pursuit' and 'The Great Escape'. In comparison, the Rooneys' Christmas may seem rather hollow.
The FA is unlikely ever to sacrifice one of the most lucrative traditions in its dominion. As I see it, anyone in England who favours a Christmas without football has only one hope.
So, all together now: "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...