It's true, I do.
I hate Christmas.
Yes, I am aware that this makes me sound very Bah! Humbugish, and puts me on a list with Scrooge McDuck. However, let me elaborate.
I hate what Christmas has become.
I hate that there is so much commercially created bits and pieces. I hate that it has become about the gifts and not about the message.
I hate that we, as a generation, have become obsessed by the frivolities and the expense. That people feel pressured to spend, spend, spend to make their Christmas complete.
I was brought up in a Christian home, by a single mum with very little spare cash. She worked hard to get me what I wanted. The year I got a pair of roller boots is still my favourite Christmas.
That was it. My biggest Christmas present... and I was beyond happy.
She worked right up until mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. I would be at my Grandparent's house putting up and decorating their tree. Sticking the cardboard angel with tinselly bits to the mirror and cutting a switch of holly from the bush in the garden to put over the fireplace.
Presents were wrapped all together. With a hot drink and a festive film.
As I got older I started to go to Midnight Mass. It is still one of the most magical services in the church calendar for me. As the soprano leads the procession in singing Once in Royal David's City.
Then Mum got a new job as a prison officer, and started to work on Christmas Day. So those other officers who had small families could be at home with their children. I did the same in my jobs too. I worked the nasty shifts. They were busy and grimy - particularly the Eves when I was partaking in bar and restaurant work.
Many things have happened over the years that have shook my faith. I'm not agnostic or an atheist. I do believe that there is something. I also believe that this is part of the human condition. We look and search for something bigger than ourselves. I don't think we want to know that this is it. We are alone.
Since I've been a parent, I find the day itself is really stressful. Juggling the excitement of the boys, with everything else. Trying to make everything perfect. It is a thankless task. I married an atheist, and the boys are starting to lose their believe in the magic of Christmas.
I don't hate everything about Christmas. I fully embrace festive mugs and decorations. I adore Christmas songs and films. I'm even onboard for seasonal foods. There is something about them that makes winter magical.
It's the magic of Christmas I think is now missing. The I want for Christmas is so strong. I remember in my Religious Studies exam there was a cartoon about Christmas that we had to discuss. The banner across a bustling town centre read 'Hosannah Christmas in the High st'. A sad reflection even 20 years ago on how commercial the season had become.
So this year I have 2 advent calendars on the go. One is candles, the other I shared on here last week. My Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. I'm hoping that this year by making a concerted effort to embrace what I believe to be the true meaning of Christmas that I can hold on to the magic a bit longer and show my boys that it is a magical time for families and thinking of other people.