I bloody love Christmas! I'm the biggest child going at this time of year and always run the risk of peaking too soon. Take the presents: The real kids in the house know not to leave mummy's presents lying around as I will hunt them down and find them. I cannot be trusted. It's not the present(s) per se, but I get overexcited and cannot bear knowing a surprise is coming. When they were little I used to prise out of them what they'd seen FH buy. (Prise? Who am I kidding, it was like taking candy canes from a baby.) The FH used to use techniques not unlike the SAS to keep them away from me, even resorting to storing them in the garden shed one year. Rookie mistake. He finally took to hiding them at his parents' house, only for me to realise if I wanted to know what I had to look forward to I just needed to find the receipts in his wallet... Yes, I know. I am very bad. So now they are wise to it, my children think it's hilarious to give me false clues. D1 "Sssh, don't tell mum about the orange plastic apron we got her... Oh, hi mum, didn't see you there".
Of course, I LOVE the whole festive thing for the girls too. When I was a kid my brother, sister and I used to drag mum and dad out of bed at 5am to check out the bootie under the tree. When my two were younger, I used to be lying there wide awake waiting for them to get up . One year, it got to 7am and I was beside myself with excitement. I started crashing around on the landing, turning the light on and exclaiming in a loud voice "ooh, I wonder if Santa has been yet?". Eventually they woke up but I can't say I wasn't a bit disappointed that I had raised such Christmas amateurs.
This week we've had D2's school Christmas Fayre and Carol Concert. I sang my not insubstantial lungs out to everything, peaking with the 'Gloria's'. D1 was mortified but I didn't let that stop me. It was a lovely service and I still felt uplifted by it when I woke up. In the shower, I gave an encore of all of the previous nights ditties, and a smattering of my personal favourites. When I turned the shower off, I heard D1 and D2 singing too - they'd been accompanying me all along.
But I must admit I had been a tiny bit worried that my yuletide enthusiasm had left me after the disaster that was last Christmas. It was, without a doubt, the worst I've ever had. In the run up I had a major upset, I was facing the hardest and final part of some huge life changing challenges and to compound it all I ended up with flu. I spent most of Christmas week wading through boxes of tissues and alternating between Beechams and Quality Street (generally whilst lying on the new Wii Fit mat. Glad to see it was good for something.). So I was more than a little relieved when I could feel the familiar excitement welling this year. I'd not lost it.
And as for the presents, I genuinely don't care what I have or haven't got. No, I mean it. I've not even tried to find out from the girls. (Well, just once, but that was more for their benefit than mine.) Because after everything we've been through this year, I realise that I already have everything I need.