Well here it is, that special time of year again… The Night Before Christmas.

It is called the night before Christmas, but it feels as if Christmas is more than a single day to me. We  have been to see the Christmas Jools Holland show at the Bournemouth International Centre, had drinks and dinner out with our close family and boogied all night… I had the lads day out at the football with curry and drinks afterwards which we do each festive season… I have had two Christmas parties with my colleagues and fellow hypnosis gang… I’ve spent some quality time with my wife Katie in front of our open fire, eating roast chestnuts and watching ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ while sipping from the barrel (not directly!) of Ringwood brewery’s  finest Best Bitter that I picked up (another integral part of Christmas for me) and eating mince pies… It may be the night before Christmas, but Christmas has been happening for a few weeks already in my life.

Driving into my office at 7am this morning, there was barely another car around, here at my offices, there is not another soul around, it feels like Christmas Eve! I am finalising a few things at work, being as productive as I can in preparation for another fruitful year ahead, then I’ll go for a long run along the sea front before the shenanigans begin in earnest this evening… We traditionally spend Christmas Eve with our closest friends and we are having a big Boxing Day party with lots of friends and family as well as Christmas Day spent with family and loved ones… Lots to look forward to and I cannot wait. We’ll eat too much, drink too much, laugh loudly, sing loudly (yes, we have Singstar) play games and have a ball.

This Christmas I am celebrating as joyfully as ever. Celebrating another year where I feel privileged that I got to work in this field that I absolutely adore. Celebrating because I have a truly exciting year ahead. Celebrating because I feel blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. Celebrating because we have triumphed over much adversity this year.

That is all I am going to write today, I’ll be back after Christmas with some build up to the New Year and then that’ll be upon us too… I wish you a Christmas  filled with good friends, much merriment, hearty laughter, joy shared with loved ones, well-being, and much celebration.

I hope you see the beauty in others, choose to love more and fear less, let go of unwanted and detrimental feelings, maybe by waving a white flag and agreeing to play football with the other guys in the opposite trenches, I hope Nottingham Forest win on Boxing Day, I can’t wait to see my wife’s face when she opens her presents from me on Christmas morning, can’t wait to hand out those flutes of Champagne to our friends and family on Boxing Day, can’t wait for all those cooking smells to fill the house, can’t wait to pull those crackers, play games with my nieces and nephews, stay up late with the grown-ups singing and drinking and getting to wear my Christmas jumper for the second time this year… so much excitement!

Here is wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
(and God Jul to all my family in Norway)

I can think of no better way to share my excitement of this day with you all than to finish with the words of  Clement Moore:

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Have a good one… My party hat is about to go on…