Love it or like it, Christmas comes around far too soon every year! For the kids its just one big fun time - but for parents (Mum's in particular) it's often a lot of hard work!

I love the build up - even though it's my busiest time of the year by far. My daughter still gets goosebumps when she hears the Coca-Cola advert playing for the first time on the TV signalling the start of the festivities...holidays are coming...!

I love the never-ending re-runs of the great Christmas films... Elf being one of my favourites plus Narnia, Love Actually, The Snowman et al. There's nothing like cuddling up on the sofa with a great Christmas film on the TV.

I'm always excited to see what the big stores have come up with for their festive adverts with John Lewis always being fab. The penguin one last year was my ultimate favourite - so much so that I would 'well up' every time it came on (much to my kids' annoyance!) and when my son learned to play Real Love on his guitar - he'd get me going all over again!! This year the Man On The Moon is very thought provoking - but not festive enough for me.

The racking of the brain as to what to buy the in-laws when it seems like only yesterday you came up with last year's great idea! And when there seems to be a competition on Facebook between your friends for who can be the first to put the tree up and make you feel like you're so behind even though it's only November! When I was little my parents said the tree would go up on the weekend before Christmas - no matter when it fell... so some years we only had it up for a few days! I'm not that strict - but I do insist on having Noddy Holder, Wizard and all the classics belting out the traditional tunes - and even though we don't know all the words Fairytale of New York has to be sung in a drunken slur - maybe it helps if you don't know the words!! After the tree is beautifully adorned - (read: every decoration bunged on) my kids raid their rooms to add rubber ducks, a tardis and a dalek and anything else that takes their fancy... my tree used to be amazing before I had children!

Also over the years our 3 cats spent time scaling the branches - once knocking it over entirely, and although we only now only have the lovely Foxy she still enjoys a game of hide and seek at the top.

And so to Christmas Eve... I have always taken a photo of the kids in the same spot every year in front of the fireplace. Pillow cases hung and ready for the main man. The ginger biscuits that they made during the day along with a malt whiskey (or whatever Daddy thinks the big man would appreciate!) and of course a carrot for the reindeer... I love the tradition of it all and even though the children are 19 and 14 it's still pretty magical. 

Then on Christmas day the kids bring their spoils up to our bed and we watch them see what Father Christmas has got them - he always gets them a sugar mouse, candy canes, some socks, a box of tissues... and so the list goes on. This year I am hosting... 6 of us on the main day and 8 the day after Boxing day. How we'll fit 8 round a table meant for 6 will be fun - but that's what it's all about! I write myself a timetable of cooking times and order - although after a few glasses of fizz I'm past caring if it's not perfection! Why is it you make the perfect roasties for the family - but when your mother-in-law is there they never are?!

I hope everyone gets all they want... This year there's not much I want... maybe a conservatory - that's not asking too much is it?!

But actually, this year....