why I'm now free to be miserable before Christmas
1. put up the Advent calendar on the 18th, tearing off 17 windows in one go
2. drink ginger wine at inappropriate times of the day without being looked at disapprovingly
3. eat dinner without having to light an Advent candle while the peas go cold
4. eat dinner without having to keep a close eye on the Advent candle in case it burns too fast and takes us to Christmas Eve on the 12th
5. leave the presents we've bought lying around the house without having to hide them in the airing cupboard, thereby melting the chocolate coins
6. listen to proper music in December rather than the kids' favourite CD, 'Songs to Make you Want to Slap an Elf'
7. pretend we're not in when the Rotary Club's Santa chariot comes to the street and someone knocks on the door wanting a donation of fifteen quid in return for a glimpse of him
8. go to Sainsburys just to buy pickle and Bran Flakes
9. buy tins of sweets for Christmas that actually make it to the 25th
10. complain to each other about how commercialised it all is without being accused of acting like old fogies
This Empty Nest business isn't turning out so badly after all.