The Nativity Season is over in this house for another year - and I can't say I'm sorry.
Yes, I know they look cute in the whole tablecloth and dressing gown ensemble or trussed up in tinsel, but it brings out the worst in people - and not just the children. This year parents have complained to the school because their child didn't get a leading role and had to play the recorder. Others are camping out to get front row seats an hour before the doors open. What?
When he was four years old, Number One was the Shining Star of Bethlehem and spent the entire twenty-minute performance walloping the child in front of him with his star-on-a-stick before finishing him off with a poke in the eye. The following year he was a Wise Man and at the crucial moment removed the gold wrapping paper from Baby Jesus' gift before hurling the empty biscuit tin at the crib.
Number Two didn't even make it onto the stage, crumbling with stage fright on his way to the hall. He spent the entire performance sitting on the dinner lady's knee by the fire exit with my best tea towel on his head.
Number Three hit the big time when he landed Joseph, but a few days before his theatrical debut he broke his arm and had to knock on inn doors and steer the donkey with his left hand. Awkward, but not disastrous. And he and Mary made a rather pretty couple - both Celtic skinned, blond and blue-eyed. However, at the critical moment when the Son of God was actually born, Joseph had to ferret under the hay bales, bring out the baby and hand him to his proud mother. This proved a tricky manoeuvre with one arm in plaster and there was a collective gasp when Baby Jesus fell out of the swaddling clothes and fell naked to the stable floor revealing her dusky mixed race heritage and long ebony locks.
However, for all my festive cynicism, I joined in Away in a Manger and even experienced a lump in the throat. I think it was a mince pie.