As a family we've had a tricky twelve months health wise and this Christmas it's made me reassess what is important. So in the spirit of bagging a bargain and getting what I want here is my own letter to Santa.
The pressure can mount ahead of the festive period, leading to arguments and stress and potentially relationship problems. Here are a few handy hints to help you survive the stress of Christmas.
Rather than ignoring the truth of what makes Christmas challenging for you, be brave, accept your limitations, face your frustrations and make a decision to approach things differently this year.
Over the past few years I've been fortunate enough to travel for work and to visit friends who have moved abroad. On some of the trips, I've found myself thrown in with some of the most diverse and unusual people, all of whom were trying to get along for the sake of everyone's enjoyment.
I want to share something I have written recently but have sat on, busy with life, busy with the children, busy trying to make time with my husband, and busy trying to set aside time for myself which is free from writing, reading, studying or worrying.
There are two main eating disorders that affect young people. These are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Although they're both very different, they do have one thing in common, namely that a young person suffering from either condition has an unnatural attitude to food.
Petty fights in the back of the car, temper tantrums over the possession of a favourite toy, irrational jealousy over who is the family favourite - squabbling brothers and sisters have infuriated parents for generations.
Cancer, illness, disease. It does change everything but when you finally stop and accept what is happening to your family, you can't help but reassess your priorities. Nothing else in life really matters in the face of something so huge. It's the patient who matters. It's the patient's family who matter. It's you who is important.
We are fostering again. Our home is filled with the sounds of children playing. Umpteen pairs of little shoes and wellies are piled around the front door, coats and jumpers are draped over stairs and chairs. There are toys in every room. Our foster children come in twos and threes, and sometimes it feels like being hit by a tornado.
The day I had my second son, I remember sitting in the hospital cafe - on a break from continually circumnavigating the building trying to get things moving - I tearfully asked my husband, 'What if I don't have enough love for this baby?' 'What if my heart is already full?'
These people can be of any age, ethnicity or gender. They always put someone else's needs and welfare before their own, often without recognition or praise. Many have little chance to socialise, which can lead to isolation; and they have an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Who am I talking about? The UK's 'hidden workforce' of unpaid carers.
A child's early years are vital to their chances later in life. Learning to walk and talk, starting to make friends and build relationships outside the immediate family and developing a desire for independence all happen in this period before school. Because this is such an important time, children and their parents need support.
For many older people, Christmas can be the most isolating time of the year. The whirlwind of the festive season can easily go on around, rather than involve, many older people particularly if they don't have a family they see regularly or groups within their local community who provide support.
Assumptions that men are "hard to reach" or that "men don't talk" are unhelpful and present challenges to services that seek to engage with men and encourage their involvement. There is more to do to develop our understandings in terms of research, policy and practice, and recognition of men's roles in families and as carers might be a key signifier for broader change.
Having some space, literally through living away, but also the space afforded by sobriety as relapses got further and further apart, I was able to understand the situation a little more, and to feel more accepting of it.
Relationships break down for many reasons, whether as a result of distrust, betrayal, ineffective communication or other issues. And not just romantic relationships: family relationships, friendships, business relations, and so on, can all be subject to a fallout for one reason or another.