Growing up changed my view of Christmas

All the gifts that everyone will have forgotten about in a fortnight have been bought, wrapped and dispatched, but I'm still not in the Christmas mood.

All the gifts that everyone will have forgotten about in a fortnight have been bought, wrapped and dispatched, but I'm still not in the Christmas mood.

I've braved the endless round of shops with their dizzying array of naff gifts “for the crazy footie fan”, “the mad-for-it angler” and even a burping bottle opener for that “special beer-gutted couch potato in your life”.

But after sorting Pa Devlin's present (am kidding, dad, don't worry), I still had to sweat it out in the tropical climes of various department stores while children screamed to the strains of Noddy Holder shouting “It's Chrisssstmasssss!”

Please, is there anyone out there who really enjoys this pointless charade or am I just turning into a grumpy old woman?


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It doesn't help, I suppose, that ours is a small, aging family which doesn't have to muster the enthusiasm for the sake of excited children or grandchildren.

The few of us who will pull crackers together in Norwich next Monday lunchtime (and my rubbish paper hat will not fit, I guarantee it) see each other all year round, so there is no holiday photos to bore, gossip to exchange or new boyfriends to inspect.

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And even though I was 30 this year, I am still the baby and therefore ought to be getting the most excited or, in our house, feeling the least jaded.

My lovely mum is with me on this one and is probably partly to blame for my apathy.

While some women her age had their Christmas pudding sorted during the summer heatwave and are now busily rolling out pastry for mince pies, singing carols and inviting neighbours round for mulled wine, Ma Devlin serves her sprouts with a healthy dollop of cynicism.

“I wish I could get in to it, but it all seems so false,” she said, although the tree will be up and look stunning by the time I get home and she will not have forgotten a single person on her Christmas card list.

She's often said that it all changes once you stop believing in Father Christmas, so maybe I cruelly robbed her of any festive fun when, at a ridiculously young age, I demanded to know “the truth” about the white-bearded fat bloke.

So maybe for her sake I'll set the alarm for 5am next Monday, run into my parents' room and rip open my presents.

Or I'll stick that Slade song on and scream until they hand over a present to shut me up.

Looking back at Christmases past, that now worn sense of inevitability was all part and parcel of the excitement.

I am still the youngest person in our small branch of the family.

I think me feeling a little deflated about the whole idea of Christmas isn't because the magic hasn't been taken out of it.

It's because I grew up.

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