....until Christmas!" cried my ecstatic granddaughter on the phone last night. "I'm sooooo excited!" And she went on to tell me all her plans, and how she was going to raise money to buy presents, and how there was only Halloween to go and then ...and then...and then...
And I started wondering when it was exactly that I stopped being soooooo excited about Christmas, and began to dread all that hype, and the ghastly catalogues, and the appalling tunes with which we are bombarded in shops, and the desperate, miserable faces of shopppers as they scurry around buying those "gifts" which are of no use at all, but are the last resort of the desperate (odd-flavoured vinegars, with plants floating in them; useless little boxes of tiny soaps, which are of no use unless you are a very clean dwarf; scented candles designed to make the house smell like a brothel; tiny diaries, when you've had your new one for weeks etc etc;).
For years, I "did" Christmas for the whole family, plus extras, and had nightmares about it for weeks beforehand. I remember one night, weeping because I hadn't made the mince pies, with my poor husband saying "but nobody likes mince pies!" It was fun, usually, when the kids were small (opening stockings at 4am springs to mind), but now, things seem different, and the Christmases seem to hurtle round with increasing speed, and this year, we haven't even had a summer in between.
So, darling Phoebe, I'm sooooo glad you're excited about Christmas, and of course, I lied, and said I was, too. But actually, I'm not. Not at all. Although with you there, I know it will be fun.