As a kid my excitement over Christmas was for one reason - presents. Believing so fervently in Santa as I did, the sight of that empty sack, knowing that on Christmas Eve Santa was going to fill it up, was a magical time.
The whole atmosphere of the house contributed to the aura of it all. The decorations, the tree, the Christmas movies, the warm mince pies and the countdown on the advent calendar... it was beautiful, especially to a kid, and I loved it.
Unfortunately, that belief in Santa was one that, like for all of us, was eventually punctured. Still, by that stage, Christmas was beginning to mean something else to me.
The magic now wasn't a belief that a fat jolly man was going to deliver presents - it was more about the atmosphere - everyone taking in the joyful feeling of a time where, even if literal magic wasn't there - it still sort of existed. Christmas brings out the best in people - it brings out a sense of sharing, of generosity, and families coming together in good spirits. I found that, whilst I obviously still enjoyed receiving presents, I also loved to give gifts too - seeing the faces of my loved ones as they got something they wanted or needed was, in many ways, the thing I enjoyed the most.
I still enjoy that now. I look forward to giving my wife and family presents they will cherish - but there is something about Christmas I love even more.
When the house is decorated, with red, gold, green, blue and silver streamers across the ceiling, lights and trinkets on the tree, and the promise of a beautiful turkey roast on the horizon, I find myself looking at my daughter, who is just starting to become aware of Christmas and the magic of Santa. Her little eyes light up at the thought that he is on his way, ready to fill her Christmas sack with all sorts of goodies. Reliving that feeling of joy and excitement through her is the most wonderful thing about Christmas for me, and it always will be.