The approach to Christmas is my favourite time of the year. This year, as last, it began in November with a visit to the Country Living Christmas Fair in London with a dear friend who loves the whole kit and caboodle as much as I do. A great start.
December got underway and as usual, we had an hour of family fun building a gingerbread house. I say 'we' - what I really mean is, I sit back on my hands and let them get on with it, resisting the temptation to step in and 'neaten it all up a bit'. We all sat back and admired it. Then little fingers wanted to get in there and break bits off and....eat them!! Pardon? I think not! This little house I like to think will outlast Christmas and will be the final thing to dismantle on twelfth night. First in, last out. Why? I have no idea. But I like it that way. So, as every year, they had to make do with polishing off the leftover icing and glittery sweets.
Now, when I was a child, my family had its own traditions - my mum would pop me on the back of her bike on the last day of the school term and we'd go and pick up a tree. It would get lashed to the saddle and handlebars and we would walk slowly back singing 'Bringing home the tree, bringing home the tree....'. Such a fond memory for me. Not until Christmas Eve was it brought into the house and the decorating commenced. I wish, wish, wish I followed on with that tradition. But I don't. We went out in the pick-up for our tree this weekend - drove all the way to the farm shop, hoiked it in the back and drove home again. But it was a fun afternoon, picking and choosing as the woodcutter held each one at arms length for us to walk slowly around and measure up - Father Christmas himself brought the freshly cut trees down from the field on his tractor. Who could ask for more?
Our tree, the one that had our name on it, is waiting outside, preparing for its moment of glory...