Some may say having a birthday near Christmas is a negative thing, although I disagree. My birthday is exactly four weeks before Christmas Day and I have never had any reason to want to change it. Why space out birthdays and Christmas when they can be placed comfortably close together for double the fun?
Plus the novelty of Christmas starts to wear off once you hit the age of about 11. The excitement is still there; it just appears in different ways. Whereas toys used to be what Father Christmas placed in my stocking, now I receive clothing and other quirky gifts. Although of course none of the later gifts in my life will be used half as much as my Tiny Tears was.
In fact I find it quite sad that at 17 (nearly 18) I can no longer write to Father Christmas, and ask him nicely if he would please bring me a Barbie Doll, or a Fishers Price Play Kitchen. I still love the fact it has its own fridge, dishwasher and oven, which need only two AA batteries to bring it to life.
Yet unfortunately these gifts are no longer ‘acceptable’ for someone of my age, and to be honest I should have grown out of them. But that is not the point.
Another issue with being older and being old enough to earn your own money is you can no longer ask your grandma to go out and buy your mother’s present for you. You now need to find something she will actually want, which is harder than it sounds. A bottle of shampoo here, a photo of my brother and I there, and soon you have nothing else in mind to buy her.
Mothers are great at showing complete surprise, though, once they open their gift to reveal another candle. Just the idea her children have gone out of their way to buy her something is more than enough to complete her Christmas.
The wrapping of the present is the best bit. As the years go on it’s more a competition in our family rather than just something that needs to be done, with prizes given to those wrapped in the most sticky tape and with the neatest wrapping.
However the older I get, the more I enjoy just being with my family. Christmas Eve is the traditional hot chocolate in Arundel followed by how many crackers my 13-year-old cousin and I secretly pull without being noticed. Christmas Day is ‘present day!’ obviously, and Boxing Day is for bizarre games, played with my bizarre but wonderful cousins.