Christmas in the air.
Christmas is in the wind. It flows down the glittering streets, curls its way through the windows and gleams through shop windows. Suddenly, pine trees are everywhere, sparkling and dancing with coloured lights, whispering to all that Christmas is coming... Are you ready?
As I drove home tonight, the pale street lights reflected off shopping bags packed with love and thought, ready for sellotape and labels to lie, in anticipation under the trees at home. I can smell the anticipation, the excitement glittering in children's eyes, the tingle in the blood as we slowly count down to Christmas.
I am so lucky to have had a happy childhood: one where Christmas was an event that I looked forward to and relished when it finally dawned; where a filled stocking awaited me at the end of the bed, and in my bleary half awake, half dreaming sleep I would become aware of weights on my feet, of strange wrapped objects silhouetted against the window light. And how that glimpse of wonderment became fully flamed excitement as I woke up and it was, finally, Christmas. The rush upstairs with the stocking dragging behind me on the stairs as I burst into my parents' room telling them that Father Christmas had come, had eaten the mince pie left out for him and the drop of whisky.
And now, I have my own children. And every Christmas Eve, a little tipsy from supper, I creep upstairs and wrap each child's present and fill their own stockings. Just like parents all over the world I wait until they are asleep and creep, breathless, into their rooms terrified they will wake up. And, on that wonderful morning, when I wake up to the sound of excited footsteps on the stairs, they burst into my bedroom, full of the joy of the day.
I can't wait!