He’s making a list and checking it twice... columnist James Matthews is looking forward to a new family Christmas
“Earlier in the year our son, Jake was born. To say life has changed would be an understatement and I really don’t think this Christmas is going to be the quiet affair we’ve become accustomed to”
AS A youngster I can remember my sheer giddiness in the run up to Christmas Day. By the middle of December my sister and I would have adorned our bedrooms with strips of tinsel and rows of garish paper chains. Fake snow spray would cover half of each window pane.
We’d gather around the Christmas edition of The Radio Times as soon as it landed on the doormat and start circling the festive movies and TV shows we simply had to watch. And we’d have one last flick through the toy catalogues to double check there were no crucial items inexplicably missing from our Christmas lists.
After checking Santa had visited (he always had), Christmas Day would seem like a never ending frenzy of gift opening, with parents and grandparents chasing scraps of wrapping paper around the living room in an effort to dispose of them before the whole carpet vanished under a mountain of presents and waste. A few years later, when it was more about firing up the latest games console than building a shiny new Lego castle, I’d enjoy the fact I could still lend my construction expertise or poor board game sportsmanship to my younger brother’s gift haul.
And then, without realising, the meaning of Christmas seems to suddenly change. Joy comes from having a bit of time off work and being able to catch up with friends and family rather than receiving gifts (although I’m grateful I haven’t had to buy a pair of socks since 2003 - thanks, Mum).
In recent years Christmas Day has been a fairly grown up and dare I say it, sedate affair. My annual duties typically include not burning my signature roast potatoes, removing the strawberry creams from the Quality Street tin (why do they insist on including them?) and cracking open that bottle of something special we’ve been saving all year.
But this year it won’t just be me and my wife, Abby. You see, earlier in the year player three entered the game as our son,
“To say life has changed would be an understatement and I really don’t think this Christmas is going to be the quiet affair we’ve become accustomed to”
Jake was born. To say life has changed would be an understatement and I really don’t think this Christmas is going to be the quiet affair we’ve become accustomed to. Granted, at five months old baby Jake won’t understand why we’ve seemingly taken one of the trees from the garden and planted it in his living room. Nor will he be able to fathom why we insist on repeatedly concealing a perfectly good toy in reams of impenetrable wrapping paper - or why we’ve (probably) dressed him up as one of Santa’s elves. So once again I get to peruse the toy catalogues, but unlike 20 years ago I’ll be making a Christmas list for Jake rather than me. There’s a very good chance he’ll be getting a few presents he’s a bit too young for and his Dad will have to “look after” for a few more months!