A very happy Christmas to one and all. We're well and truly settled in MSG now, and thanks for your kind thoughts and wishes as we went through that miserable patch getting set up.
It was no surprise to read that there was a last minute surge in spending just before Christmas. Retailers know they can rely on characters like myself - Desperate Dads - to wander round the shops buying gifts almost at random, guiltily spending ridiculous sums whilst promising themselves they'll be better organised next year.
This year I even managed to find myself in Past Times on the High Row. Past Times is a brand we can afford to pass 364 days of the year. Come Christmas Eve, however, with the clock ticking and the sweat running down our brows, even its faux Victoriana seems worth a second look, as we frantically puzzle what to buy that last "difficult" aunt or uncle. Then, they're lifesavers.
Which brings me to the incredible shrinking Christmas. The boys' Christmas stockings, of course, as are ample as ever. Presents for the stockings in contrast, have diminished in size markedly. Once, before the Fat Police stepped in, there could be a selection box or two. Annuals too were a popular staple, but they seem to be a thing of the 70's and 80's.
So last night Sandy and I sat down looking at a little pile of Top Trumps, games for the Nintendo and puzzle books worrying that they'd be lost in AJ's stocking. We needn't have worried, of course - AJ was just chuffed that Santa had been, eaten his mince pie, drunk his Pinot Grigio (ahem) and fed Rudolph the carrot.
So have a great Christmas everyone - I'll be blogging again before January looking back on a momentous year for Darlington.