Tis the season to be tacky tra la la la. Well at least that's my opinion. I like to think that for most of the year I am a relatively tasteful human being. I can't stand polyester bedding, I think most of the sofas in the DFS ads are vomit inducing and I know my way around a Farrow and Ball paint chart. See I am a right classy bird me, well at least I am until the first strains of Jingle Bells begin to chime in the shops, because just as a full moon unleashes the werewolf within, Christmas releases my inner Essix girl.
I have a sneaking affection for those houses lit up like Southend sea front with a menagerie of glittering neon snowmen, Santas and elves. I know it's wrong, but I just can't help it my spirits from lifting as I spy a herd glowing reindeer perched atop a suburban roof.
I was particularly disappointed that a recent trip to New York was just that little bit too early to see the full glory of the city's Christmas decorations as I know the Americans know how to go over the top in style. I was gagging to see the Swarovski laden tree at the Rockerfeller Centre, but it was still shrouded in scaffolding as a team of workmen bedecked it's branches.
You see I have tried doing an understated Christmas. I have fallen for the trends for monochrome trees glinting demurely with pure white lights and a few carefully chosen, handblown glass baubles, I have wrapped presents in brown paper and twine, I have decked the house in nothing but holly and ivy, but the end result always disappointed my tacky soul.
If it weren't for my husband who restrains my worst excesses my house would be draped with coloured lights, my tree would groan under the entire contents of the John Lewis Christmas department, accessorised by all the trinkets we've picked up on our travels with the children, including the fluffy M&M decorations, the festive Mickey and Goofy figures and the entire set of Micky Mouse shaped baubles.
This year I have scored a small victory for Christmas kitsch and for the first time, with the backing of my oldest boys, we have persuaded my other half that it is acceptable to string blue and white flashing lights across the front of the house. Little does he know this is the thin end of the wedge as I have long wanted to fill the tree outside our house with lights and I think this is a step in the right direction.
I was gratified when the neighbours on both sides complimented my lights, and felt this was justification if ever I needed in my marital struggle to introduce a taste free zone at Christmas. This year blue and white fairy lights, next year a lighting up snowman (always the blasted garden centre hasn't run out again, see I told you they were popular).