Let's have two minutes' silence to mourn the death of another lofty ideal.
The reality is that the children are simultaneously exhausted from a busy school term, hopped up on all the sugar they've come to expect as an inalienable right, excited at the prospect of a visit from you-know-who and bored/frustrated with all the endless WAITING. It's the perfect storm, and it has resulted in plenty of shouting, crying and sulking. The kids have also been pretty badly behaved.
One accomplishment I am proud of, though, is our lovely gingerbread house. Do you like it? OK, OK, I know, I know, a nano-second spent Googling 'gingerbread house' will yield some amazing specimens (like this one) to which ours does not begin to compare. BUT as my Dad always says, "if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly" and I can honestly say that the children and I got a lot of pleasure out of completing this project together. I'd like to think it will become an annual ritual.