When Helen and I were kids at Christmas time, hour after hour would be spent with the LittleWoods catalogue perched on our knees, while we made mile-long lists of toys we would like Father Christmas to bring us.  It wasn’t that we expected everything on our carefully drawn up lists, we just wanted to give dear old Santa some ideas, and God bless him, we were never disappointed…

Now some of you may think that it goes against the spirit of Christmas to ask for what you want now that you are all grown up, but I say life is too short to get stuck with a gallon of perfume you hate and a dressing gown that doesn’t fit, and one of my favourite Christmas rituals is the writing and issuing of my Christmas wish-list.

It all started three years ago. Mark and I didn’t have much money and I frankly couldn’t bear the idea of receiving a lot of gifts I neither needed, nor wanted, when there were so many things that could really make a difference to my life at that time, and indeed make me smile at a point when things felt kind of low. So, I sat down and made a list. Not a, buy this, in this size, in this shop kind of list, but a chatty, dear Family, I do hope you don’t mind, please feel free to ignore me, kind of list.

” Buy me ribbon, flowery anything, and sparkly brooches. Buy me something to keep warm at night, or a cardigan to throw on over my work clothes.  I like pink. And plum. And raspberry and a certain shade of olive green. I need a mascara that doesn’t make me look like a panda and something to take it off before I lay my weary head on my vintage pillowcases. I need new underwear. Nothing saucy. Just ordinary everyday stuff.  And socks because my feet are always cold. Spoil me with rich, syrupy red wine and violet cremes, because I think I will faint if I am deprived of violet cremes for much longer. Buy me saucepans and tea towels and don’t worry that I will find such gifts too dull. I’m a dull kind of girl with a passion for pretty things. Buy me balls of string, pink paperclips or a fountain pen. Or buy me something to make me smell scrumptious in a scent you know I adore…”

And on, in the same vein, it went. Just as when I was a child, I didn’t expect most of the things on the list and just as,  back then,  I had added something I knew Father Christmas couldn’t provide…

“I will, of course, be happy with anything you wrap up with love, but what I really want more than anything, is something to love. A puppy. Or a kitten, or even, please, please, please- a baby…”

My family were charmed. Christmas Morning brought 10  little boxes from Mark. One containing a beautiful bouquet, the other a box of gourmet food from Selfridges, one more containing lengths of ribbon and beautiful craft paper, a twinkly brooch and a snuggly cardigan. When we arrived at Mum’s there were stockings full of teeny tiny treats, all my family’s interpretation of those things on my wishlist, making for one of the most gloriously heart pleasing Christmases for a very long time. But not one of the boxes moved. Nor had air holes punched into the top. There were no suspicious yelps from inside my stocking. And no twinkly little eyes peeping out. Father Christmas was magic, but even he, it turned out, had his limitations…

So what do you think? Are you appalled? Does it go against the spirit of Christmas to ask for what you need, want or ache for? Perhaps. Or maybe it is simply a way of asking the universe for all that your heart desires…

Nine months after I asked Father Christmas for something to love, I gave birth to my scrumptious baby boy and I thought I might burst with joy. I still do. Because it turns out that Father Christmas is magic. It’s just that some presents are impossible to deliver on time…

I’m a believer. Are you?