If Father Christmas is reading this, I realise I'm too late for a last-minute plea about what I want to find in my stocking on Tuesday. But I know what I don't want: a digital camera. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against progress. It's great that I can take pictures of my family and friends and see the results straight away. Or that I can delete the ones where someone is closing their eyes. That I can email a picture of my daughter to her grandparents hundreds of miles away, within seconds.
But there is something I want to say that I know will make me sound like a Luddite, and will be greeted with baffled amusement by anyone under 30: I miss having a non-digital film camera. I miss the post-holiday ritual of turning up at Snappy Snaps or Boots with my film and coming back an hour later to the excitement of a shiny envelope stuffed with my pictures. I miss the surprise of finding out what my photos, taken in a taverna a week earlier, look like. Even the ones with red eyes.
I haven't always been so behind the times. In 1983 I had a state-of-the-art Kodak disc camera, with its round flat film that was easier to use than the wind-on version. Polaroid cameras were fun – instant, but still printable, pictures. And when I first got a digital camera six years ago, I marvelled at how many pictures I could take and store on my computer. But, due to my laziness and disorganisation, I never backed them up or sent the files to a printer. I printed only a handful at home. So a few months ago, when my laptop broke, the files were lost, including all my treasured pictures of my daughter's first year – save for some I've got on my BlackBerry. The drive has gone, the photos lost for ever, when they should be in an album, fading over the decades and curling at the edges.
I'm not blaming the cameras, but my failure to get to grips with the medium, and I'm sure there will be thousands of people opening digital cameras, cameraphones and iPads on Christmas morning who photos will never hold their pictures in their hands. So, Father Christmas, I know you're busy, but please can you throw a Kodak 35mm point-and-click on your sleigh?