We’re almost ready.
The tree went up a couple of weeks ago. It’s useful to be able to lineout-lift a little star-placer to the top of the tree. Forget Claridge’s: our artificial spruce now has a gloriously random vibe that outshines any tree in the nation, having received the artistic attentions of a four-year-old and two cats.
The most important summit of the year at Celtic Manor has taken place. We refer not, of course, to September’s minor gathering of Mr ‘Bama (as he’s known in our house) and various other statespersons, but to the annual bilateral with The Man Himself. With various elves briefed and list delivered, St Nicholas has only do to his thing, secure in the knowledge that The Grifflet has been A Very Good Boy.
Lists have been written and rewritten, requests analysed, and Santa’s Helpers have done the Black Friday smash ‘n’ grab tour of the retail outlets. Even the extended family have their presents whole days before December 24 this year. Dad’s played or conducted over a hundred verses of Hark The Herald. Mam is overseeing the allocation of hamper goodies like a general provisioning a D-Day landing.
The run-in’s been as tough as the year was. Mam continues to inch forward from 2014’s least welcome event, her third major neurosurgery operation, and through iron will and steely determination is refusing to be beaten by such minor things.
We won’t be sorry to say goodbye to 2014. But on Christmas Eve, as the stocking gets hung up, we’ll be thankful.