It's nearly Christmas - yay - am sat here in Santa hat. Here's what makes my Christmas Christmassy.
1. Sat home alone with the Christmas tunes on wrapping presents for those I love.
It makes me feel all tingly and happy. It's also best done by the lights of the fairylights on the tree.
I normally favour swing versions of festive songs and choral carols, but this year, I enjoyed the alternate Christmas playlist on Stereomood.
2. Midnight communion.
My dad would always come upstairs after we'd all gone to bed on Christmas Eve and read us the Christmas story from the bible. When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to go to midnight communion, and so the story reading morphed in to Dad and I sneaking out at 11pm to walk down the road from my Gran's in Woolston to Peartree Church for midnight communion. When my sisters got older they came too, and I loved this little special thing we did just with Dad.
I love the magic of the Christmas communion, the waiting for the Christ child, old church words muddling with timeless winter celebration. The knowledge that the saviour was made a man on this world in the lowliest of low situations.
My family are a family of singers. We'd sing in the car when we were little to keep ourselves entertained, and as we got bigger and my sisters more talented, we'd go all Von Trapp and Dad and Ellie would sing the harmonies whilst mum and I would sing melodies.
Dad said if you knew the tune to a hymn when you were in church it was your duty to sing out and sing loud to help other people who might not know it. I always sing loud.
We'd sing everything. Pop songs, hymns and best of all carols. Speeding to Southampton for Gran's for Christmas, counting the fairylights on the way, and singing carols over and over again.
Again as a teenager I decided we ought to go carol singing as I'd never been, and my family and another family would go to the old people's houses over the road and just stand outside singing our little hearts out. We never door knocked, but we did take requests.
Now we're older, I'm so looking forward to Christmas day today when we'll be at my Aunties, all 16 of us including cousins, granparents and Tom's dad, and my sisters will play carols and us three girls will sing around the piano.
4. Special tasty food.
I've taken on my mother's tradition of making Christmas pudding, on Stir Up Sunday. I made Tom stir it and make his wish, and it's sat in the cupboard under the stairs maturing, awaiting more and more brandy, ready for our little family dinner with Tom's dad on Boxing day.
We've also got smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast on Christmas day, a tradition started last year when we went to Devon with our friends - grown up, special and AWESOME!
The last hurrah for Christmas is our family party the weekend after new year. My Gran was one of 8 kids, and I'm the oldest grandchild. I've got 32 second cousins at last count, and every Christmas and August bank holiday we get together for a family bash. A party at Christmas and a picnic in the summer.
There's party games and food and dancing. Family bring their friends, and some of them have been coming so long they're practically family now. The kids love it till they're teenagers when it becomes boring, but when they get to 17 or so, they see the awesomeness of it all.
It's something I adore, and I'll do my utmost to keep it going for another 40 years.