Christmas is a time for festivity, for spending time with those you love whilst eating delicious food and taking in all of the sparkle and merriment, all of the smiles and laughter that abound. As soon as December approached, and in the spirit of all those M&S ads, I decided to embrace the festive season by organising a host of fun things to do with my family.
I booked the Snowman at the Peacock Theatre; the Nutcracker ballet at the Coliseum; Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park; The Santa Train ride in Longleat and ice skating at Somerset house. Perhaps I was being excessive and I didn't expect everyone to share my enthusiasm, but I wanted this to be a Christmas to remember, one that we could all share and look back on with fondness.
With great joy I waited for my family to return from work and school. I couldn't wait to deliver the news and bring a glow of festive excitement the faces to those I love most in the world. The door swings open and a flurry of brown leaves wafts in from outside (...n ot quite snowflakes, but not a million miles off). Everyone pours in and I gather them in the kitchen to let them know the plan.
Four blank faces stare back at me.
"We're not going to see the snowman again," barked Alfie, throwing down his school bag and making for the pantry to retrieve a packet of crisps. "We've been every year since I was three and now I'm 15."
I look to my husband who simply shrugs.
This wasn't the reaction I had hoped for, but then I should have expected some level of resistance from a teenage boy. He'll come round, I thought to myself, especially when he sees how excited everyone else is.
Then came Betty's contribution.
"I hate the ballet, I'm not going, no way!"
...the same Betty who three months ago modelled my vintage dresses at the Royal Festival Hall along with 10 ballerinas and claimed to love It more than anything in the world.
"The Santa ride is far too babyish forget it." Then cried my 12-year-old son Frankie, for whom 'babyishness' is the worst possible thing ever.
"We all hate ice skating!" they cried in unison.
"I hate it too," added my husband Danny, "Ever since my dad broke his leg on an ice rink, I swore I'd never go back."
The room falls silent. I resist telling them that they have ruined my perfect 'Nigella' Christmas; that I am Bob Cratchit and they're all Ebenezer Scrooge.
"Ok then," I say, forcing a smile, "well at least we can all go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park."
"Do we have to?" Asks Frank. "We really can't be bothered to go all the way to London."
"Mum, you just go on your own," said Alfie, "you'll have a much better time".