It’s officially my favourite time of the year, where my home becomes a mini grotto, Christmas songs are playing pretty much around the clock and I try to avoid eating my weight in mince pies! The temperature has dropped considerably over the last few days so any rain that’s due has the exciting prospect of falling as something much more magical (fingers crossed – though it does make the school run ever so slightly more treacherous!).

There’s something about Christmas for me that never lost its magic, despite growing up, hearing the (devastating to me at the time) news that Santa didn’t really pop down our chimney or realising the somewhat precarious financial strain it can bring.

Even now, I adore putting up the decorations and sorting through everything, filling the house with the scent of cinnamon and baking as I turn into a festive domestic goddess for several weeks, baking everything in sight from cookies to cakes to (more) mince pies and other sweet treats. Me and my daughter have a yearly tradition where on the first of December we put on her favourite Christmas film, The Polar Express, and snuggle on the sofa with hot chocolate and a mince pie, then dig out a huge Disney Christmas puzzle that we get to build over the next few days, all in between the letter writing for Santa, the school plays and excitement. I get to watch my favourite Christmas film, White Christmas (it’s not Christmas to me unless I’ve watched that film a million (ish) times before Christmas Eve!), although I still have a soft spot for the Santa Claus film from the 80s starring Dudley Moore and John Lithgow – even at my age it still isn’t Christmas Eve unless that film is on!

For me, Christmas doesn’t end once the presents are opened or the dinner is eaten, which seems to be a view of a lot of people these days, which is a shame. I hear it so often on the radio or on the TV and it’s quite sad. Even as a child, I looked forward to Christmas for much more than the presents. It was the music, the decorations, the atmosphere, the cold, the bustle, the good feelings that seemed to settle all around. I looked forward to the whole shebang. Christmas in our house lasted for days, with family often coming on both Christmas day and Boxing Day and even after – tiring, yes, but so welcome and enjoyable. It made the whole season special and not just for that one hour or so in the morning.

Now I try and maintain that for my daughter. I can never re-create those times, but I can make sure her Christmases are remembered for much more than just unwrapping a few boxes. I want her to remember them for the family time, the fun, the laughter and the warmth that the season brings, as well as understanding the reason behind the festivities and teaching her to show care and kindness towards those less fortunate than she is. Hopefully that way I can ensure she keeps the excitement and joy of Christmas with her all year round, no matter how old she gets!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year x