"It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Actually, no it's not - there are still two months to go! We haven't even had Halloween yet. However, nobody has told the shops who have already put out their Christmas stock and started playing the festive muzak.
Before you accuse me of being a grouch, I am a huge fan of 'Christmas'. It's a busy day in our house what with it also being Ethan's birthday. I know – what a Christmas present! He arrived on his due date, so I can't complain, but you'll note his little brother Logan is a May baby. If you are debating what season to have a baby in I can thoroughly recommend spring (the light evenings and better weather definitely help the post-birth blues) and would advise caution if you're 'practising' in March.
Ethan turns four this year and I think he might have twigged that the sparkly tree in the corner is not a typical birthday decoration. We haven't quite figured out the best way to split up the big day. I try to drip feed him presents over the twelve days of Christmas rather than open everything at once, and we celebrate his half-birthday in June. It certainly means lots of cake.
It also means I need to get thinking about presents now, to make sure there is a definite birthday present and a definite Christmas present. I have a friend whose birthday is in mid-December and I soon learned not to give combined presents or to wrap a birthday gift in Christmas paper.
I've just realised that I've gone from complaining about Christmas starting early to discussing festive plans in October. Sorry! I guess that's the magic of Christmas...
Have you started thinking about the festive season yet? Or do you wait until December? Let us know by commenting below...
Some of my friends have already started or indeed completed their festive shopping. I doubt I'll ever be that organised, but this week I smugly received delivery of this years' photo calendar for the grandparents. And I'm currently sorting out a digital address book so I can print off address labels for the Christmas cards.
Every year I buy new cards, write and send them and then discover my stock pile from the January sales. In writing this I have vowed to check the cupboards before I buy new cards. We'll see how that goes. I'm pretty sure I have another few weeks before it's time to sit down with some mulled wine, put on Bing Crosby and write festive messages to friends and family.
For some reason this task always falls to 'the mums'. In my experience, dads don't do greetings cards. The only reason my Mum got cards from my Dad was because my sister would provide him with said card. My husband isn't much better: he rarely personalises a card as he feels the printed message sums up exactly what he'd like to say and merely puts his name after it. I hope our sons are better but I do fear a lull in cards until they get married.
When it comes to cards I always put my name first in the family line up. I wrote the cards so I will take the glory thank you very much. Occasionally I will put my husband first if the card is to a close family member of his, though in those cases I tend to put said card and a pen in front of him and tell him to write it.
But every year I get cards from friends that put their husbands first, even though they (a) wrote the card and (b) are my friend, not a friend via their husband. These are women who didn't even take their husband's name on marriage... Ah well. If it makes them happy, does it really matter? Peace on earth and all that. Plus I got a nice card and 'ooh, look, more mulled wine'.
When the festive season comes (sooner than you think, it always sneaks up on you) I hope you and yours have a wonderful time. Maybe we'll even get some snow…"
Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine every Friday to join in with the conversation
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