So this is Christmas…

"Christmas tree? Just buy a bag of pine needles and chuck them on the floor".

“Christmas tree? Just buy a bag of pine needles and chuck them on the floor”.

Well, the season is upon us, again. 2012 is in the home straight and the year has seen a lot of changes.

But change is a New Year agenda: Christmas is all about the things that stay resolutely the same. A tree will be involved (or more likely, a large mound of shed pine needles under some dead wood). There will be food and booze in absurd quantities, requiring an equally absurd programme of systematic troughing to get through.

We may even find ourselves talking of peace and friendship (this will likely happen in the kitchen, while taking part in Operation Systematic Trough).

And at some point, most of us will find ourselves staring into the frenzied eyes of a festive present-buying orgy. It’s somehow fitting that so much of this gorging is now satisfied online, where we can be safe in the knowledge that the only frenzied eyes we’ll encounter will be our own.

Despite all this, I’m quite looking forward to Christmas this year. It’s partly down to the fact that I love a drunken good Christmas sing-along. But it’s mostly because this will be our eldest daughter’s first proper Christmas.

Somehow, the kids make it all okay, don’t they? The queues, the ‘flu, the late-night and the last-minute; the incipient panic of Christmas Eve; The Great Wrapping; the stupid sello-tape edge that just will not reveal itself. Even the inevitable loss of humour and proportion, over some miniscule infringement, that tips the supermarket run into a furnace of fierce words.

When she runs into the lounge, still in her pyjamas and tries to hit her sister over the head with one of the toys we wrapped so carefully, the furnace will be a million miles away.

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