I'm going to reach out to those of you with, or who live with, small children. I'd love to sit alongside you and we could, together, bemoan the hellish early hour we were woken.
But I can't, because I was woken up at quarter to ten by Louis and Kate, the former signing frantically.
SANTA SANTA SANTA WAKE UP
“Did Santa come?”
“Awesome. Did he bring presents?”
YES WAKE UP QUICK
“I need to put some clothes on, dude, I'm only wearing my boxers here.”
“No problem, you go through and I'll catch up.”
NO I'll WAIT
Kate just laughed, dumped him on my bed and averted her eyes.
Through in the living oom, sure ebough, Santa had been. The carrots were eaten (all ten of them, he was sure the reindeer would be hungry (and so they were, although they won't be eating coleslaw any time soon) and the whisky was drunk and the mince pies reduced to crumbs.
Presents were everywhere, huge stacks of them.
“Wow, Louis, who are these for?”
“Cool. Do you think Santa brought anything for anyone else?”
“I'm sure there'll be something here for me and Mum and Dad.”
NO *cross face* ALL ME
I turns out the Christmas books only talk about Santa bringing gifts for kids. We had to explain that other people would be getting presents too, in the interests of injecting a little festive cheer into the kid. Also, I was screwed if I was surrendering my haul of loot just because Kate and Sean had made poor pre-christmas story choices.
Partway through the gift opening, Fran and Laura popped by for some pre-lunch champagne and to deliver the best socks I've ever worn. You suspect you're getting old when you get socks for Christmas, but you know you've got there when you're thrilled by them.
My presents were generally awesome, a few nice wee hampers, a suspend-it-from-the-roof chair, various CDs and books and a copy of Gloom, the Victorian tragedy card game (fun for all the consumption riddled family).
Then there was the small matter of Christmas dinner. The whole flat was due to be out of town for a couple of days following the 25th, so we'd shopped with a view to avoiding leftovers. Louis and I had spent a very festive morning in Tesco picking up last minute odds and sods, singing along and shaking tubs of peppercorns like maracas.
The day before we'd all tried to settle on what we were eating on the big day, turkey or duck? Just a chicken? A nice cut of beef? We all knew that it had to be straightforward and create no carcass.
So when I spotted a stuffed butterfly of turkey I nabbed it and threw it in the trolley (possibly saying “Fuck it, that'll do us”) not noticing its claim to feed 10 people. THis turned out to be bullshit, incidentally, unless the people it was feeding were leprechauns. It amply fed the three of us and produced a couple of extra servings.
Or maybe we're just fat.
Aside from this, I decided that I would cook Christmas dinner, having never done it before and feeling rather adventurous following my pie and ham extravaganzas earlier on in the week. To plan it, I made this little beauty.
The thing the picture doesn't really show is that it's written out on a 3 foot tall whiteboard. Its not that I'm anal about these things, you understand, its just that I wanted it all to work.
Also I quite like schedules where you get to shout “1500! Baste!” in the sort of voice that Mortal Kombat used to say “Fight”.
So dinner was lovely, and then very fat and a little tipsy I fell asleep on the sofa in front of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and only woke up when I farted enormously (sprouts, sue me).
The entire day was thoroughly grand and I spent some time trying to work out what had made it so comfortable.
And here it is.
It's my first Christmas since leaving home where I've been:
Not at my parents.
Not at somebody ELSE'S house (thanks enormously to the various people who've had me over for Christmas over the years, I love you all xxx).
In my own home.
With other people, including a little person.
Adult enough to know that Christmas will probably be fine and to play a part in making that happen.
In short, it was the Christmas of a settled person.
And that's worth a lot.