It’s the time of year when trees go up, advent calendars are opened and turkey is devoured.
And John Henderson hopes north-east fans enjoy another feast of festive darts.
The Highlander was set to get his PDC World Championship bid underway in the second round at Alexandra Palace this afternoon against James Richardson.
Hendo, making his eighth appearance in the sport’s biggest event, believes the tournament – which is played over the Christmas and New Year period – has become a festive tradition for many.
In his home town of Huntly there have been well-wishers aplenty in recent weeks as Henderson has stepped up his preparation for the worlds.
The 30th seed hopes he can do his army of supporters in Huntly and the rest of the north-east proud at Ally Pally.
The 46-year-old said: “I get people wishing me well throughout the year.
“Huntly’s quite a small place as well and a lot of people seem to follow how I get on or ask how I’m getting on.
“If people hear I’ve qualified for Blackpool for the World Matchplay or the Grand Prix people talk to me about that and it’s the same with the worlds at this time of year.
“I’m on the road quite a lot but when I’m out and about in Huntly I do get stopped quite a lot and people wish me well.
“When I get stopped the first question is always ‘are you playing at Christmas this year?’
“It seems like the darts is now part of people’s Christmas routine and lots of people watch it.
“Darts really comes to the forefront for a lot of people at this time of year.
“It carries on in the new year with the Premier League on Thursday night, but there’s always a lot of interest in the run-up to the World Championships.
“Speaking to people it seems like me being in it does increase the interest in the sport which is good.”
Henderson will have some backing inside Alexandra Palace this afternoon as he looks to set up a potential third-round clash with No 3 seed and back-to-back Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price.
He added: “A couple of my sponsors are coming down to support me and my partner Veronica comes down as well so it’s good to have them there.
“I’m not too sure if there are a few going down from Huntly and the north-east as well.
“I’m not too bad in terms of having support – a lot of neutrals in the crowd seem to get behind me.
“So I’m sure I’ll do OK from the crowd when I play James.”
Henderson has reached the third round of the World Championships in the last two years, recording some memorable wins.
He hopes for another match to remember this afternoon against Richardson, who is ranked 62 in the world and defeated ladies world champion Mikuru Suzuki in the first round.
Hendo hopes his experience on the big stage can help him win through, but isn’t taking Richardson lightly.
He said: “This is my ninth year in the PDC. I’ve only failed once to qualify for the World Championships and that was because I had a bad injury.
“James Richardson has had a bit of Ally Pally experience as well so it will be a hard game because of that and because he’s a good player.
“Having won on that stage does help. It took me a couple of years to get my first win and James has beaten Raymond van Barneveld on that stage and the more you play on it the more you get used to it.
“There’s a crowd of 4,500 there and I’ve experienced playing in front of that sort of crowd in the Premier League and the worlds.
“Hopefully I can use that experience to start well and go on a run.”