It’s why turkeys don’t have one leg

LET me describe to you what will happen in my house about 5am in five days time.

It will begin slowly, with low murmurs and tense whispers. There will be feet on the stairs. They will be trying to be quiet while at the same time not giving a rat’s bum whether they succeed.

Someone will giggle. Other voices will join the first ones. Bear in mind that I will still be in bed with my wife – a place we fell into only three hours previously.

They’ll give up trying to whisper quietly and they’ll whisper loudly. In the general hushed bedlam you’ll be able to identify clothes being tugged hurriedly on.

Eventually, but probably only about 15 seconds later, our bedroom door will burst open and someone will shout quietly: “He’s been!”

Any other time of year this would refer to my nine-month-old grandson, who has left something foul in his nappy, but on this one occasion — on this one morning — it will be Santa.

And no, not because he has left something foul in anyone’s nappy.

But because he will have filled every sock hanging along our fireplace — there will be eight of them — with delights to dazzle the eye, thrill the senses, satisfy the palate and break the bank!

No-one will have been bad. I have a very close personal relationship with Santa Claus, as does my wife (indeed, there is clandestine rumour going round our family that she was once spotted in bed with him!) and I have it on very good authority that everyone has been bloody wonderful all year (except for the grandson with the foul nappies, but that doesn’t count).

Hence the bulging socks.

Kids? Who said anything about kids! The youngest of my kids is 22 and the oldest is 34! (My wife says the oldest kid in our house is 60, but I ignore her).

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s my belief that Christmas is not about kids at all, not exclusively, anyway. It’s about sharing.

You can’t have a festive Christmas on your own. It’s just not possible, any more than clapping with one hand. It’s why crackers have two ends, and gift tags have a bit that says ‘from’ and ‘to’.

If you were meant to have Christmas on your own, tradition would dictate that you ate a canary, not a bloody great turkey. And it would only have one leg.

And do not give me any of that stuff about the commercialisation of Christmas. I have been doing my bit for the national economy by emptying the shelves faster than Pan Pharmaceuticals — and emptying my bank account at the same time.

It’s worth it! I can whinge and moan and hate people 363 days of the year. I usually do. I am prepared to give over the remaining two days (my spirit of goodwill spills over to Boxing Day) to festive bonhomie and free mince pies to all-comers.

I am going to be dragged out of bed after three hours sleep and ordered to be jolly and I don’t care! I wouldn’t want them to know this, but they don’t have to order me. On Christmas morning I’m prepared to be jolly without any urging.

This time next week it will all be over. The turkey will be a few dry shards in the fridge and the pudding will be a fading memory on the taste buds. The tree will be a skeleton and the carpet will have a pile made of pine needles. It will be 363 days to Christmas (and, by the way, in our modern society all of them are shopping days).

I’ll urge my wife to be more frugal. I’ll refuse to change my grandson’s nappies. My festive goodwill will go into hibernation for another year.

But until then, dammit, yo ho ho! And merry Christmas to everyone!