Amazingly in nigh-on 10 years of blogging this is actually only the second time that I write to you on Christmas Day itself! (The last time that occurred was 2007, fact fans!)
December has flown by. I can't believe it's the 25th already, and soon enough this year will be over. Before then, though, I am back in Manchester and trying my absolute hardest to get into the Christmas swing of things!
I have to admit, I don't feel particularly Christmassy this year. I went out and bought all my presents back in October, before moving to London. That takes one huge part of the usual Christmas routine (the last minute buying dash) out of the equation. Then, I've been working so much lately that I haven't had time to stop and do much - never mind embrace the holiday season!
But here I am, and it's hard not to smile and be happy when I have my (huge!) family around me. It's always great seeing the nieces and nephews, who have grown even more every time I visit. Christmas is also the only time of year you'll find me, my sisters and step-siblings in one room at the same time. Though we're not all that well connected, it's still nice to see those step brothers and sister.
25th December is always a crazy day. Everybody squeezing in to my parents' houses, as an impossible pile of presents are unwrapped in turn, amid much excitement.
This year, it's the first time that nephews Tyler and Jamie have been able to recognise what Christmas is. That's quite fun! Tyler was shown a photoshopped picture of his living room with Santa in it - which completely fooled/amazed him! Meanwhile Jamie has fallen in love with a few toys that I bought him - namely a Darth Vader lightsaber and his new train set. I'm officially a good Uncle.
Christmas is a time of family, yeah... but let's be honest, it's also about the presents! What did I get this year? Well, having mostly sat 2014 out Doctor Who returned in a big way. I got a number of spin-off DVDs (Downtime, War Time, Daemos Rising) as well as two Doctor action figures, that complete my collection of Doctor figures. I will attach a photo of all my Doctors sitting on my shelf once I have returned to London.
The Christmas dinner this year was served by Mum & Step-Dad Dave. I didn't take any photos, as per my usual tradition my mobile has been switched off for the majority of the day. However, it was very delicious - and as a thank you, I tackled the mountain of pots and pans, on official washing up duty.
Then it was Doctor Who time, and I will admit to crying at the end. The episode was titled The Husbands of River Song. For the first 50 minutes, it was very average fluff; but then, in those last 10 minutes, it dealt an emotional punch. This was the last time that the Doctor would ever see his wife River Song, as they reached the Singing Towers and their final night together. *Sob!*
I've spent a good bit of today thinking about my Nan, who died in 2014. Christmas was always a time of year where she'd come around and sleep over for a few nights. She was at the heart of the festivities, and loved seeing us all together, and happy. I miss her warmth and sense of humour.
I'm acutely aware that this is probably the last Christmas that I'll have, celebrating like this. I have no idea what I'll be doing next year - but if I'm with anybody, then I'll almost certainly stay in London and celebrate with them. That'll be different, but an evolutionary step I think I need to take in my adult life.
But let's worry about that in 12 months. For now, I'm here, happy and yeah, finally in the Christmas mood.
Merry Christmas to you, whoever and wherever you are!