I love Christmas. I should really say that I love the idea of Christmas. I daydream about the perfect Christmas Eve. The cottage is warm and cosy, the open fire crackling in the hearth. Snow is gently falling outside, blanketing the rustic landscape and softening the sharp edges of the world. The tree is finished, subtle fairy twinkling giving a soft ambience to the room. A glass of ruby red wine, lambent with the firelight and my sweet man at my side. All the presents are beautifully wrapped, all the cards hand delivered, all the work is done, effortlessly completed using my superior domestic skills. I can rest assured that when our guests arrive for their festive lunch they will have a wonderful happy time.
The reality is, of course, a little different. Christmas Eve is spent panicking. The holly and ivy home-made napkin rings look like an explosion in a florists, the gas cen