Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm an absolute traditionalist. Obviously, at this time of year, I'm allowed to indulge this more than I would usually, because what's Christmas if it's not traditional? I do however seem to have somewhat of a romanticised view of the whole affair. You see, in my mind, it should snow. A lot. Dramatically in fact. But this won't affect the travelling, because you see, everyone will still be able to get to their large country houses in their horse and carriage. They'll simply have to sweep up the long drive, and when they arrive, Mrs Tiddlypom will help them descend onto the drive, extending a mulled wine to warm the cockles of their hearts.
When they get inside, they'll cluster round the roaring log fire, and try not to step on the 2 hunting dogs panting in the warmth. When they've finished socialising, they'll move through to the dining room and indulge in a glorious feast of turkey with all the trimmings, and a flaming, brandy-soaked Christmas pudding. I imagine they'll be called Victoria and Henry, their children George and Matilda, be with various generations of their family, and will probably wait until after they've finished their dinner before they open the presents.
But this isn't Christmas for many of us anymore, because times have changed. I don't have a Mrs Tiddlypom, I don't have a roaring log fire, and I don't even have a horse, with or without a carriage. Not even a picture of one. Lots of families don't have 2 parents any more, are made up of step-relations and not quite in-laws and are more Royle than Royal.
So this year, we'll start our own tradition. My son will arrive mid morning from his dad's house, and my partner will be here already. There'll be a mad dash to open presents and find something to watch on the tv in the background. Partner's parents will arrive at some point in the proceedings, and we'll do the presents again. I'll be rushing in and out of the kitchen burning stuff, forgetting to put stuff in the oven, and wishing I'd made the trifle last night. Because of course, of course, not everyone will eat Christmas pudding. We'll stagger to the living room when we've finished eating, maybe play a game, but probably watch the tv and fall asleep. Then I'll make everyone wake up and start eating again, because of course they'll be hungry again, won't they?
And the day will be fabulous because I'll be with everyone I love at the time of year I love the most.
And maybe, just maybe, it will snow.
And one of my Christmas presents will be a hunting dog.