'Tis the season to stop being a curmudgeon

Disenchantment with Christmas only happens if you let it

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The Independent Online

Don't know about you, but I'd quite like to be carried away by an eagle right now. The viral video doing the rounds yesterday of a huge bird of prey snatching up a baby in its claws was greeted with shock and horror (until, inevitably, it was found to be fake) but the idea of spending the next five days in a feathery eyrie is tempting (I'd want to be rescued before the golden eagle pecked me to death, of course. Failing that, maybe the bottle opener I carry everywhere with me at this time of year could come in useful).

At the time of writing, the weather is rubbish – wet and listless – and I would rather eat glass than an economy sausage roll at the office "party". The sight of presents I bought two days ago now marked down by 50 per cent (as the high street stretches the concept of "January Sale" yet further) is infuriating and for the few items I weakened about and purchased from Amazon I have received 37 (37!) emails detailing their dispatch and delivery. My tree has started shedding its needles. Oh for the comforting grip of claws on my shoulders.

The butcher cheerfully informed me yesterday that he'll be opening at 5.30am on Christmas Eve to cope with the hordes of poultry purchasers. The Nectar points I'd saved all year to spend on decent red wine has been spent, instead, on presents for teachers (a necessary detail. At least my children don't attend private schools, where parents are in the habit of giving HD video cameras and Tiffany accessories).

My children are teenagers so I anticipate Christmas Day will be a battle to a) wake them, b) interest them in food other than chocolate, and c) keep them from sloping off to their mates' houses. I'm sorely tempted to serve them a Pret Christmas sandwich and a Bailey's smoothie and have done with it.

But then – like Michael Corleone trying to go straight – just when I thought I was out, Christmas pulls me back in. Today I'll be at my daughter's school carol concert, a guaranteed weepie, and I've done a good thing and donated to charity (The Independent and i's brilliant Appeal, and two close to home and my own heart, home-start.org.uk and magicbreakfast.com).

Disenchantment only happens if you let it, I suppose, so it's up to me to keep the magic going. And to that end, I'm off to wrap stocking fillers (thank you Poundland) and to put on the Swingle Singers Christmas album (a Markwell tradition of many decades). I'm emptying my mind of enquiries, scandals and tragedies. Now, where can I get a foil tray big enough to fit an eagle?