It's the first of December - that date in the diary when it suddenly becomes ok to send the kids off to school having already eaten chocolate and when fairy lights become your primary source of illumination. So, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you what's coming do you?
Yes, you've guessed it, it's...
I am not at all ashamed to say that I love Christmas. I've loved it ever since I used made tissue paper hats at school for our Christmas party (AND we got to watch a film on the TV that they'd wheel into the hall - treat!). I have vivid memories of wiggling down my bed to prod hopefully at my stocking on Christmas morning in the hope of finding something hefty.
Now I love it because I get to make the rule about when the Christmas tree goes up and because I get to do the things for my son that my Mum used to do for me to make it all so special. We have alternative advent calendars with vouchers for treats as well as chocolates, we make decorations, have PJ days and have homemade charade pots that prove none in this house would ever make it on the stage (Lark Rise To Candleford once became Bird Flying From A Cupboard which pretty much tells you all you need to know) but most of all, we have time.
Time. That precious precious commodity that I value more every year. Today, I sent notes to clients telling them when to expect the bounce back 'out of office' note in December and January and it feels great to know that I've got two weeks all to myself. Well, not totally to myself with partner, kids, dog & family but you know what I mean.
So, what do I plan to do? How am I going to make the most of every moment. Well, I'm not going to. I'm not going to fill my holiday diary. Christmas is not a time to overindulge on commitments. On chocolates and treats, yes but commitments, no. This is a time to recharge batteries, take stock, make plans, go for runs or walks, read books or do precisely nothing. This is time that's not governed by the inflexibility of school timetables or the pressing need to squeeze in dinners between arrival home and departure for evening activities. It's a fortnight without obligation and however I or you choose to fill it is our business.
It's ok to reach the end of a busy year frazzled. It's ok to need a break and to look forward to some time out. We all need it. And, in kick-ass businesswoman mode (not my default setting, it must be said), I'm going to take it. But I'm taking it gently, asking if I may and saying thank you. I'm going to appreciate my break, luxuriate in it and drift through each and every day with not particular plan.
This Christmas, I promise not to grade the success of my holiday on the number of notebooks filled with ideas, books read, presents delivered, dinners cooked or miles run. Instead I'm going to just see how I feel when I'm back at my desk in January and that should give me a pretty accurate idea of just how great my Christmas holiday was.