Every day of every month we are hyper focused on what's new -- from food to travel; cars to celebrities; technology and entertainment; to work and life trends...there is an obsessive, irresistible pull towards the future. We want to be immediately better, smarter, savvier by half past the New Year's ball drop.
Every stage of Christmas is an event in itself, a milestone to be marked, a perfect Instagram moment. Christmas doesn't just happen to him, it's a series of experiences he feels he has to have, otherwise he's failed. At first this will seem romantic and exciting, before your brain slowly starts to dribble right out of your head. And when it does, it's got tinsel running through it.
We're all mad to get home for Christmas because it is the done thing. We spend the rest of the year with these people, they've known us our whole lives, so why - on the one day everyone is meant to be happy - are we forced to swap cracker jokes with them over a dinner fraught with 'I wouldn't have done it like that' tension?
Often derided as a location for spiriting away unwanted tracks the humble b-side has thrown up numerous classics over the years. Inevitably there have been plenty of Christmas singles with more illustrious matter on their flipside and so what follows is a veritable packed sleigh full of songs that have become festive standards in their own right...
I can't let my child's first Christmas just pass by in this unholy whirl can I? Not if a cursory internet search of 'Baby's First Christmas' is anything to go by. Apparently I need to make it 'unforgettable'. I should be organising festive family photo shoots. Buying him a reindeer outfit made from real reindeers. And having his first 'Christmas Day turd' immortalised in clay.
With almost three quarters of British adults unable to remember some or all of the gifts they were bought last Christmas, I am joining CARE International UK's campaign to stop people squandering their hard earned cash on last minute throw away buys. Rather than the usual deluge of socks, soap and chocolate we're urging people to consider a lasting and memorable gift idea by giving vouchers for the micro-lending charity site, www.lendwithcare.org. The site enables people in the UK to lend small sums of money (from £15) to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries, helping them start or expand their small business, feed their families and send their children to school.
Christmas at Standingstone - the farm I grew up on in Scotland - was largely a dreary affair. Any fun had to be either sought from within myself or beyond its demises. Both of my adopted parents tended towards the solemn anyway; their sadnesses and failures permeated the already dour and damp sandstone house with a cold seriousness.
I love how excited everyone becomes at Christmas, it has to be one of my favourite times of the year. Amidst the blustering winds, unpredictable downpour, and imminent travel disruption, all that festive spirit really does help make everyone feel a little bit better. But the truth is, I don't actually celebrate Christmas.
On my daughter's first Christmas, my husband Gregor and I discussed Santa. Do we? Don't we? For him, the decision was easy - we can play all the games, but we don't have to actually tell our daughter Santa is real. I thought this sounded reasonable. But part of me was torn. Would we be denying our daughter the magic of Christmas?
They're there throughout the year and we often don't know they're there. They are battles beneath skin. They live in those we love. They sometimes live within us. There are times and situations in which they can become amplified to an almost intolerable point. I am referring to mental health issues.
I am finally expecting a baby in February after almost four years of battling infertility and IVF treatments. Despite being so close to my goal of being a mother I have not forgotten for one second the pain that I have endured to get here. I especially cannot forget how much more intense that pain was at Christmastime.