We've seen them come and we've seen them go. From hula-hoops to Teletubbies, Barbie dolls to light sabres – all at some time or another have been the "must have" Christmas gifts for children. Parents across the land blackmailed annually into thinking their brats will be unloved and ostracised by their peers unless good money is spent on stuff that will be broken and forgotten long before you roll out the turkey and sprouts.
Tipped to join the list this time round is a £50 wooden mini-kitchen complete with pots and pans which will, according to the department store John Lewis, let your little darlings "bake pretend cakes and cook up imaginary meals all by themselves!"
The gadget, I admit, does look like great fun and far better than some of the tat that gets stuffed in the proverbial stocking, but hopes that it will inspire a nation of little chefs does seem to be, if you'll pardon the pun, a little over-cooked.
The thinking is that with all the cookery programmes now infesting the schedules, kids will themselves want to get in on the act, but the sad truth is that despite all the air time given to the current generation of galloping gourmets, actual hands-on interest in food has never been less.
As a nation we may love watching some flamboyant chap concocting a lovely bisque or mouthwatering carbonnade of something exotic, but balanced on our laps are platefuls of oven chips and shop-bought burgers.
Gardening is another example. A bit of channel hopping can bring you almost wall to wall viewing of an army of Monty Dons telling you the best way to trim your lavandula or tidy up your ranuculus and folk in the horticultural trade will maintain that business has never been better, but does the evidence of your own eyes show that we have all developed green fingers? If anything, gardens look a tad scruffier now than they did twenty years ago and I could guide you through whole areas in which the number one feature of that space between the front door and the front gate appears to be an abandoned fridge.
And so it goes on. Strictly Come Dancing is viewed by millions but there is very little evidence of spontaneous gambolling breaking out in the queue down at the Post Office .
Taking the biscuit, however, is sport. The story goes that as some bloke won a tennis tournament and another some bike race in France, we have all opted to spend every available second of our lives in a pair of shorts leaping about in the nearest park. Really? Again, where's the evidence? I haven't seen a jogger for months and the school playing field seems permanently empty.
Sales of trainers may be on the rise, likewise those of clothing with stripes up the arms and legs, but that says more about sartorial taste than it does sporting activity. After all, you would feel right out of place at Argos unless you're in a size 28 track suit.
But the myth continues and there is always plenty of media space allowed for frantic people to tell us how excited they are now that Team GB is now a major player in the world of tae kwon do and it won't be long until every man jack of us is practising the skill at the local gym.
It's all part of perpetuating the fallacy that last year's London Olympics left us a worthwhile legacy and the billions it cost was money well spent and even though we shall be old and grey before the debt is paid off at least we are all now jumping into swimming pools artistically, pole vaulting and doing the 110 metres hurdles on a daily basis.
The trouble is that those who appear to talk the loudest are those on the receiving end of a handsome government grant or nice little sponsorship deal and would hate to admit that while the elite few are indeed doing rather well the majority of Britons spend their time slumped in front of the box with a can of pop and a packet of crisps.
The simple truth is that we are watchers not doers. That would probably explain why, when we are all supposed to be leading healthier, more active lives, we are in fact getting fatter and more lazy.
Still, between now and Christmas you'll have a a bit of exercise lugging that mini kitchen back from the shops and hiding it on top of the wardrobe ahead of the happy day. The children won't play with it, of course, but they'll have hours of fun looking at it.