JAMES MATTHEWS

He’s mak­ing a list and check­ing it twice... colum­nist James Matthews is look­ing for­ward to a new fam­ily Christ­mas

EDP Norfolk - - News - James Matthews

“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!

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