Thanks to the constant barrage of toy adverts on kids tv, my two have been chanting their mantra "I want that for Christmas!" for what feels like months. Although The Boychild still doesn't really understand what Christmas is actually about, so he's been saying it when he sees adverts for crisps and yogurt, bless him. And I know I'm showing my age but Sweet baby Jesus! Everything is extortionate! The crappiest plastic toys cost an absolute fortune! I guess I should be grateful that my two are still at an age where they're not demanding a widescreen tv and blue-ray player - each - or the latest games console. I could buy everything from the Pound shops and leave the price tags on, and they wouldn't know the difference (cue evil laugh). I wouldn't; things haven't quite got that bad. Yet.
I must admit, now we've got the kids, Christmas has become quite exciting again. There's a phase in your life when it's all a bit pants - apart from your mum and best mate, people have stopped buying you presents because you're too old, and you have to cook your own Christmas dinner. But when you have kids, you get excited because they are, and it reminds you of what it used to be like all those years ago. I used to go to bed at 5pm on Christmas Eve, because my mum used to say "the sooner you're in bed, the sooner Santa will come!". So there I would lie - for about 4 hours usually - willing myself to get to sleep. Of course, I would be awake at insane o'clock, like kids across the world, practically weeing myself with excitement. I remember once getting out of bed, clicking on the light and seeing that "He's been!", and unwrapping all of my presents like a miniature tornado. And then midway through my first selection box mum coming in and giving me the mother of all rollickings because it was 2.30am. Well, if Santa was stupid enough to leave my presents in my bedroom...!
I still believed in Santa until an age that is probably deemed ridiculous by todays standards. And even when an older friend of mine, Paul, told me that he didn't really exist, my mum argued with him with a fury never before seen in an attempt to keep the pretence going for a little longer. The kids today seem to grow up so much faster that I wonder how many years we have to enjoy the glorious innocence of it all. But for now, I shall revel in the traditions of old - leaving a bottle of Rekorderlig and box of Matchmakers out for Santa on Christmas eve (I've heard he doesn't like sherry and mince pies anymore) and try to forget that I'll hardly get any presents and will be in the kitchen for 4 hours on Christmas day, cooking a dinner the kids won't touch because they're desperate to get back to their ridiculously expensive bits of crappy plastic. Magic.