Christmas — the most wonderful time of the year.
Not sure about anyone else but, for me, Christmas literally starts on December 1st.
There is a frisson in the air — almost like a light being switched on — that happens the minute the calendar moves on from November.
But as I’ve got older I’ve realised that the anticipation of Christmas is sometimes better than the real thing.
And I don’t mean I don’t enjoy the day itself — I really, really do — but I used to look forward to Christmas day so much, I almost wished away the time leading up to it.
And then I always felt a bit cheated, as it was over so quickly.
With that in mind, these days I tend to celebrate each day of December.
Spinning the entire month out and enjoying the whole lead up to the day itself is a great way of making you feel as though you’ve really had your fill of the festivities.
For me, Christmas is all about family.
Spending time with friends and loved ones — and really making the most of the fact that everyone is off work at the same time — is a wonderful thing.
I thank my lucky stars that my family and the majority of our closest friends are based in the UK.
Due to life getting in the way, we sometimes go for months without seeing each other; safe in the knowledge that we’ll be reunited during the Christmas holidays.
If they lived further than the boundaries of our little island, it would be a different matter.
Instead of Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year, I think I’d definitely find it a bit upsetting to be separated from those I hold most dear.
The Holiday Inn Express ‘What Matters Most’ campaign
Which brings me to a fantastic competition that Holiday Inn Express have been running on their social media recently.
They know that, at Christmas time, a lot of their guests stay at their hotels to visit family but for those people with loved ones living abroad that’s not always possible.
The premise of the ‘What Matters Most’ campaign was to find out which of their followers were separated from their families. Then three lucky winners were chosen and the team at Holiday Inn Express HQ worked with their families abroad to surprise them, this Christmas.
The winners and their families were reunited at the Holiday Inn Express in Ealing and a lovely film, capturing the moment that they met, was made to mark the occasion.
You can pop and have a look at the film here. And have some tissues handy — it’s emotional!!
Holiday Inn Express are holding a Twitter party this lunchtime, to celebrate the ‘What Matters Most’ campaign. You can follow them on @ and join in using the hashtag #WeKnowWhatMatters
This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.