Today I became festive. Up until now it has all seemed a long way off. I have been full of anticipation for Christmas this year because I thought that for once I would have plenty of time to immerse myself in the preparations instead of having to do everything at breakneck speed between play group sessions. However, somehow I didn’t seem to have the level of excitment that I usually have. I have been going through the motions. Of course I am very well organised and have almost bought everything we need but I wasn’t a bit Christmassy.

That all changed this morning. After we had all rushed round saying “White Rabbits” and punching each other for the first of the month, the children realised that the advent calendars were out. I say calendars because over the years the Clark family tradition has built it up to four calendars – one for each child. First we had a lovely refillable Christmas tree into which I put chocolate treats ( very small ones these days as each little pocket has to have four chocolates and room for a little finger to get them out.) Then we have a candle which is my favorite but which invariably burns down passed its alloted mark because I forget to blow it out. Next a traditional card one ( this year it’s a nativity scene ) with pictures behind the doors. Finally, there is a Playmobil one. Each day the children take it in turns to open a little box and put its contents on the snowy scene provided building up to a festive street scene by the 24th. Sadly, it is not really designed for four because whoever does the first day gets birds and bits of snow on subsequent days and the child who opens the fourth box gets people and Father Christmas.

The older ones now draw up a strict rota as to who does what on each day. It’s really complicated but I keep out of it and they sort it out between themselves. However, I noticed that the big ones didn’t rota themselves in for the birds and bits of snow.

Anyway, we did all that and everyone got horribly overexcited and then it began to snow so how festive was that? So, spurred on by that I painted the sugar paste fruits for the top of my cake gold, wrapped lots of presents, ordered the turkey and made some mince pies. Roll on Christmas.