If there is anything I can vividly remember as a child it is my Christmases. My mother used to make them magical for me and my sisters. She poured so much thought, creativity, preparation, effort and love into the whole sha bam. I longed for this festive time year after year and the excitement that came with it was next to none, or so I thought till I became a mum too.

Back then things were simpler. It was all about the real Christmas tree, the lights and the handmade decorations. Even though mum was busy back then, nothing new here, she hasn’t changed , I remember her collecting match boxes only to wrap them up and create shiny little  presents with a ‘Tiffany and co.’ style bow in traditional Christmas colours, red and gold – her favourite. Our tree was adorned with those for many years. That was it, and the lights! No fuss, no bother around the house. Just the tree. Oh and also, a long forgotten tradition, Christmas cards everywhere. Slowly, slowly gifts would accumulate under it and I remember taking sneak peaks with my sisters through the corner of the wrapping paper to try and figure out who is whose. Mum used to be organised and have them under the tree a good ten days before to add to our excitement. I find that impossible to do now.

If only everyone could experience what we did every Christmas Eve. Santa used to make an unbeatable entrance and exit making my sisters and I believe the reality of it. The unforgettable letters, the stockings with the clever little gifts – mum and dad’s faces and our joy and happiness on Christmas morning whilst frantically unwrapping our long awaited stockings in our bedrooms will be images that I will never forget. Christmas morning breakfast leading into lunch is still mad and chaotic as it always was. Mum continues to be in panic mode as she prepares lunch (we wouldn’t want it any other way) whilst swapping and opening our presents from under the tree. The sitting room turns into a carpet of paper rubbish for a while until we all clear it up and put the finishing touches to the Christmas table.

Now, I’m gearing this Christmas story in my own home and watching it through the eyes of my children. Who would have thought it could be even more magical and exciting this way? Yes, the pressure is on BIG TIME, mum I get ya! but it’s so worth it. The Christmas story we all share in our homes are tailor made to suit each family with the same result – excited and happy faces. I’ve kept traditions and customs from my childhood but in keeping with the times I’ve I have also added some more along the way. The best being Elfie.

This year the children have been a big part of the decorating procedure and believe it or not I allowed them to take on the full works. My youngest son took it very seriously and was helping out all day, placing the ornaments on the Christmas tree in groups of 10! And of course, when they went to bed, mummy fairy waved her magic wand and put everything in place! Double the work load!

Things today are much more complicated; children pretty much already have everything they want which doesn’t leave much scope for imaginative presents. They don’t believe in anything which makes our job as parents much harder. Decorations have become elaborate and expensive and terribly showy, quality time is less and present buying and everything to do with the lead up has become a chore. Because this upsets me, I said I would simplify things this year, to make sure quality time and family Christmas fun is my number one priority. I’ve come to realise that buying presents is all about the thought not the price and this is a principle I want to instil in my children. Buying presents should never be the chore it has become it should be exciting, a fun shared activity which has its roots in caring what you buy to give a little joy to those you love.