Although both Louise and I would quite cheerfully wait until later in the month to put the tree up, we decided a while ago that we wanted to put it up at the start of December for Molly. It's partly selfish - we realise that we only have a limited number of magical, fully believes in Father Christmas, years and we wanted to make the most of them. Because the absolute joy of Christmas is all the wonderful things you see when you look with a young child's eyes. It's a glorious time, full of magic, full of unwaivering belief that this strange man comes into your house and gives you stuff. It's also wonderful to partake in all the other stuff, Christmas lists, letters to Santa, making presents for family, going to Christmas things and generally making the most of the Christmas season.
It also means the continuation of a tradition we started as soon as she was old enough to grasp the concept of Christmas - Father Christmas' early visit to drop off the advent bag.
In early January Father Christmas comes back and takes away all the Christmas books, dvds, cds and other stuff lying around the house. This includes Molly's favourite Christmas thing; Reindeer with the big bum (her description, not ours and it's just stuck).
But on December the 1st Father Christmas nips round with a bag of goodies, including the stuff he picked up in January. There's a knock on the door and when she opens it, all that's there is the bag and occasionally, if she listens hard enough she can just make out the sound of jingling bells.
Today was even better; we had a special treat up in her room - her own tree. It's a little fibre optic tree in vivid girly pink and she's been desperate to have something like this for years. After getting the main tree ready Louise and Molly tidied up and I popped into the garage. I grabbed the pink tree, to which I had lovingly added baubles and fairy earlier in the day, and dashed upstairs with it. Then back to the garage, grab the Christmas bag, out the garage door, round to the front door, jingle the bells, knock the door, run like mad into the garage and back into the house, jingling as I go.
Lots of excitement at getting all her gear back and a mad dash upstairs to find out what Santa had left (he put a note in the bag this year about a surprise in her new room).
Even more excitement upstairs.
A lovely night, full of that wonderful and totally innocent joy that only a child can bring to Christmas.
But there are a few signs that this might be one of the last proper Christmases we're going to get.
After getting over the excitement of the advent bag, reindeer with the big bu and the new tree she did come out and ask me if I'd put the tree in her room. And seemed to be questioning whether it's us doing the advent bag. But she was obviously not willing to believe her own doubts because she quickly dismissed them almost as soon as she'd asked the questions.
I think she's coming into that difficult time when some of her friends have started to ask questions about Christmas and naturally they start to talk to friends about it. She''s in that very cute time when she obviously doesn't want to not believe in father Christmas because that might mean no presents, but she's beginning to question the process.
I reckon this year is safe, but I think we may have trouble next year.
Which is terribly sad. It's more evidence that my little girl is going to do the unthinkable and grow up one day. She's going to have her own life, her own things to do, she's going to leave us.
Which is why it's nice to be able to put these sort of things down here.
Because she's going to read them one day and wonder how soppy I really was.
Because these little things are the things too easily forgotten and often are the most important things to remember.
Because eventually my memory will cease to exist and this will be the only way I can recall lovely things like this.