Maybe that's the trouble. Christmas starts so early these days I become immune to its blandishments. The better half is better prepared than I am. He has been practising for Christmas for weeks now by wandering around the kitchen with a bottle of beer in one hand, a box of Cadbury's Roses in the other and getting in my way.
Still, over the years I have managed to get Christmas down to a fine art. I have pared down the festivities and streamlined the present conveyor belt so that it's not quite the faff it was. In our first Christmas together in our new house - many, many years ago - I decked our walls with boughs of holly, plus miles of streamers and tinsel. Every surface was covered with some sparkly festive ornament, from bowls of gold pebbles and pine cones to Christmas candles and miniature Santas. The tree was a work of art - a real one, naturally, so covered with gewgaws and baubles that it may as well have been artificial as not a green bough was to be seen.
I, in my innocence, was delighted with the Santa's grotto ambiance - until January 6 when I had to take the whole blooming lot down again.
As for presents, the better half and I both come from big families and have quite a few young nephews and nieces between us. Lovely though they are and very polite, I could see that as they hit 13, the picture books and toy cars weren't quite going to cut it. They are invariably saving up for some piece of electronic gadgetry so a donation to the coffers is now always appreciated.
The better half and I are not exactly Mr and Mrs Romantic when it comes to gifts. We usually decide on something we both want and buy it in the January sales, which is how we got our television, tumbledrier and wooden floor in the sitting-room. Told you, pragmatic.
So I'm about to get started on the Christmas preparations and write my own list. I have already written my letter to Father Christmas.
Dear Santa, please may I have a fat bank account and a slim body. Please don't get them muddled up like you did last year.
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