When we know Christmas has started in our house

Bez in full effect. Picture Richard Ponter
Bez in full effect. Picture Richard Ponter

Christmas properly starts in our house when two things happen. The first time we hear Fairytale Of New York on the radio and when the lights go down on the opening night of daughter #2’s Christmas dance show at Lancaster University.

The kids at her dance school start rehearsals for the show while everybody’s still got their suntans from their summer holidays. It’s like pre-season training for footballers, gruelling but necessary. Then the costumes arrive. This year daughter #2 had around nine of them including a cheerleader’s outfit, an Irish dancing dress and an Abba-esque jumpsuit. The biggest compliment you can pay the show is that when the kids are dancing on stage it all looks so effortless and runs like clockwork. Behind the scenes may be a different story with more costume changes than a Lady Gaga tour but from out front and centre it’s all incredibly polished and professional.

Three hours flashed by and judging by the music the kids danced to someone’s been looking through the 1980s section of my record collection as Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and Michael Jackson got an airing. The whole show was magnificent and the hours and hours of rehearsals (a rough estimate would be around 200) paid off handsomely.

Of course I’m biased but daughter #2 looks like one of those dancers you see on Strictly training up some stiff-legged BBC newsreader with two left feet and dragging them around the dancefloor on Saturday nights.

She moves like she’s blowing in the wind whereas the last time I danced (I’m 45 now and nobody wants to see that anymore) I moved like Bez out of the Happy Mondays and the boss dances like a primary school teacher on a leaving do (shuffle, shuffle, point). So I don’t know where she gets it from. Anyway, Christmas is here. And if you’re lucky enough to have kids then the most magical half-hour of the year is only hours away. Watching them opening their presents is the big pay-off for all your hard work through the year.

Every school run, every nose turned up at dinner, every school jumper ironed and every bill paid – this is your moment and you’ve earned it. Happy Christmas.