I don't know about you, but for me Christmas ceased to be exciting many years ago. Don't get me wrong, I am excited for the kids, but I can't summon up any enthusiasm for it at all. Back in the days of gainful employment, even having a few days off generally failed to get the festive juices flowing, and in fact many years I worked it because it was easy and there was nothing to do except play the latest flash game and stir on Bird Forum. This year I can't even say that.
I need to unleash the home-maker within. This could be my year! Daddy's year! The most fabulous Christmas ever! A home-made wreath on the front door (complete with Firecrest if I choose the right bush), the smell of freshly-baked mini sausage rolls wafting through the house, a glorious tree decorated to perfection in the front bay window, the envy of the neighbourhood, the Christmas cards (all five of them) suspended from loops of sparkling ribbon in the hallway, a fire in the hearth and carols playing, and the kids dressed in green and red tartan arranging the presents under the tree just so.
Could it happen? Well, it could - let's face it, it's not like I don't have the time, but it all seems such a pain in the arse and a massive waste of effort. Wrapping paper illustrates this perfectly - expensive and pointless. I am hopeless at wrapping presents, so you can instantly tell which present is from me. My aunt uses an iron and a ruler (and seemingly only buys gifts with right angles) and the wrapping is a work of art. But it all goes the same way, which is that it gets ripped to shreds and ends up as a scrunched up ball cast to one side. The only difference is that her sealing is such that it takes fifteen minutes to open whereas with mine you just need to shake gently and the present falls out. I find that for children this is much more satisfactory anyway.
And if I thought wrapping presents was difficult, buying them is impossible, and inspiration almost always fails me. I resort to doing deals with other family members - "I won't get you anything if you don't get me anything, OK?". Perfect for spreading the joy that is Christmas. Ugh.
Today, in the first step in transforming this place into the Magic Kingdom, I was supposed to be buying a tree, but I went and twitched a Bewick's Swan at Amwell instead. London tick, rock on! Nordmann Spruce? Whatever. However, on the way back we went to the mega Tescos near Cheshunt and found the greatest shopping trolley known to mankind. Too good not to show you, frankly a work of genius. But only if you have just one child....
We are now back home, tree-less still, and killing time until the school run. I already checked the Basin and the Heronry Pond for hot sawbill action - nothing. We've read a few stories, had lunch, and now, as I wander aimlessly around the house, the lack of Christmassy stuff is beginning to grate. Either side of us, the neighbours have gone to town. To our left they have a candle thing in the front window and lights in the outside bushes. Bah! To our right, a selection of fake wreaths with assorted holly accoutrements in the porch. Tchah! The tragedy is that our front door actually has a nail in it already, positively crying out for a Christmas Wreath. Or a sign saying "Bah Humbug".
I am somewhat excited about New Year's Day though, no idea why....