Here comes the Christmas juggernaut. Batten down the hatches. Raise the mistletoe. Double the electricity bill on exterior festive lighting. I'm very bah humbug regarding Christmas whereas Stacey is full steam ahead – Defcon Crimbo.
I think her Thanksgiving holiday is far more special. It's a day where all the family get together and sit down for a big meal. No presents, no panic, no religion, no pressure. Christmas stresses me out and I'm not sure why? It's partly that feeling of having to have a good time that makes me contrary – that and the fact that I'm basically a miserable git.
My favourite moment so far has been driving past a house that was festooned with tacky lights and giant inflatable snowmen and Father Christmases. The house next door just had a large red arrow pointing at the glitter house with the word "Twat" next to it. That, to me is how to celebrate Christmas the British way.
I have one rule at Christmas: "Don't buy me clothing". Despite this, every year Stacey buys me clothing that I loathe but have to wear twice so as not to hurt her feelings. I have a cupboard full of these neglected items that makes it look as if some Sloane estate agent is secretly living in my house. It's an interesting insight into what my wife would like me to look like were I more malleable in the fashion department. Put it this way, I would have a lot of gilets, get a job on Countryfile in a flash and get lots of suspicious looks when I picked up the kids from school.
I have done one good thing this Christmas. We drove up to London and took my mum out to tea at Claridge's. I was secretly rather worried that it would be over-priced and over-hyped. Although it certainly wasn't cheap it was worth every penny. My kids actually dressed up for the occasion without prompting (and even looked a little too square for my liking but you didn't hear that from me). We kicked off with perfectly cut sandwiches that were the best I have ever tasted. This was followed by a plethora of wonderful sweet things, champagne, tea, and hot chocolate and marshmallows for the kids.
It was Christmas heaven and a memory we'll keep for a long time. My favourite moment was watching the wealthy residents of this, a very pricey hotel, sneaking into the tearoom to fill a bag up from the freebie sweet counter. However rich you get, everyone still loves a freebie. The over-the top Christmas tree designed by Dolce and Gabbana was possibly a little much but I'm nit-picking. This, after all, is a hotel that provides you with matching Burberry macs in your room should you wish to wander around the capital looking like Inspector Gadget waiting to be mugged.
I think I have done well with the Christmas presents this year. I have still never been forgiven for the panic buys I made when returning from South Africa about 10 years ago. Stacey got a plug-in Skype phone and some unidentifiable face cream. I will never make that mistake again.