I love Christmas and everything about it. I make no apologies for milking every drop of happiness from the festive season.
On Christmas Eve I am the dictionary definition of a big kid. It’s by far and away my favourite day of the year.
I haven’t read my festive copy of the Radio Times yet, but suffice to say I won’t be able to sleep until I’ve watched a re-run of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol for the umpteenth time.
We have a real tree at home and an old-fashioned wooden advent calendar for the girls that we can restock with chocolates.
I don’t send e-Christmas cards – emails to those of you who are wondering – and pretend it’s because I’m being green or giving to charity.
I write proper cards, dozens of them, to family, friends and work colleagues.
Aside from being lucky enough to be in a panto for the first time, I’ve already attended the Christingle church service where all the congregation receive an orange with a candle stuck in it, and a few dolly mixtures.
I’ve also enjoyed carols round the tree at my daughter’s school and sat through her first Christmas show – a delightful story involving the birth of Jesus, two lost angels and a guest appearance by St Nicholas.
I remember taking part in a Nativity play at my primary school 30-odd years ago and desperately wishing I could have worn the green cloak shouldered by Jason Barker, one of our three wise men.
Such things stay with you. As, I’m sure, will the fact that my eldest turned down the chance to play the lead role of the Star of Bethlehem because she wanted to dress up as an angel like the rest of her pals.
Like me, Lois is a daydreamer and occasionally zoned out of the show – too busy watching her classmates dressed as donkeys and elves to keep up with the songs and dance routines.
Not that it mattered. The missus and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Most of us had cameras, some parents used their mobile phones to take pictures, and a few had video cameras.
The following evening my wife took a phone call from a friend of ours who had worked herself up into something of a lather.
Apparently, one of the dads had uploaded a video of the aforementioned show on to the internet for all to see.
For good measure, he’d also named the class and the school.
An hour and a few phone calls later the cameraman had been persuaded to take the video off the internet.
The headteacher was made aware of what had happened and no harm was done.
As a governor at the school and someone who has had to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau in order to accompany pupils on trips, I fully understand the need for vigilance when it comes to protecting youngsters from the dangers posed by the internet.
The video should never have been posted on the internet in the first place.
However, the dad in me cringes at the world we now live in and feels some sympathy for the poor bloke who posted the video in all innocence.
He was obviously as proud as I was to see his daughter take part in the show.
So much so that he had handed out slips of paper to other parents in the playground so they too could enjoy watching the video.
Hardly, I would suggest, the actions of a dubious individual – more the naiveté of a bloke puffed up with pride and trying to do others a favour.
By the same token, as much as I understand why we have to be careful in this day and age, I would hate to see all schools banning the use of cameras which record such precious occasions for posterity for family, friends and local communities.
Newspapers up and down the land publish Nativity picture specials at this time of year. Should we ban them too?
One of the joys of being a parent is witnessing your child’s milestone moments and sharing them with others.
Among the most enjoyable and rewarding are their first public performances – often at Christmas time.
I’d like to think that while remaining vigilant we can also keep a sense of perspective with regard to childhood and parental responsibility.
This is the season of goodwill, after all.