Kerry McLean: My three children were busy writing their letters to Santa when they caught me with tears plunging down my face
It's a moment that I simultaneously love and dread at this time of year, when I gather my children around me, hand out pens and paper and we settle down at the table to write their letters to Santa. I love it because their messages have always reduced me to tears, either of pride or laughter, and I dread it because it's at this time that I find out just how much money I'm going to have to hand over to Father Christmas to buy all their gifts.
My eldest, since she was able to write, has always asked Santa for something small, for a present for her younger siblings and for the big man to deliver a little gift to girls and boys who don't have a lot.
My son has always been a little less altruistic in his letters, usually asking for the biggest, shiniest toy he's spotted in adverts on the telly. It's not that he's asking for a tonne of money to be spent on him. His toy could cost £1 or £100, the money involved doesn't seem to register with him. As long as it's huge and makes a lot of noise, he's a happy boy on Christmas morning.
At the bottom of his list he'll always make a quick, cursory mention of his big sister but then begins what can only be called a lengthy character witness statement for his youngest sister, listing all her merits and why she deserves to get a great big haul of gifts deposited at the bottom of the tree.
It's a final argument that any barrister would be proud of and it always makes me smile. I think he knows that his elder sibling is safe when it comes to being in Santa's good books but with the youngest, the naughty elf of the family, he feels the need to come to her defence. It's a protective impulse that I hope lasts up through their adulthood. As for the boss herself, she dictates her wishes to one of her subjects and draws a few doodles on the final draft before we send them all off to the North Pole.
Of course, my eldest two, at 13 and 11, are old enough to know how much mum and dad really help behind the scenes with Santa but I'm touched by how willing they are to be involved and ensure Christmas stays magical for the four-year-old. As I sat this week, watching them help her write 'To Santa, From Eve' at the top of her page, and give her advice on what presents she should ask for, I couldn't help but have a little cry over just how proud and thankful I am for my three wonderful kids.
When they looked up and caught me with tears plunging down my face, they rolled their eyes and carried on with their Christmas correspondence.
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Don't get the wrong idea, they're not heartless and unmoved by their mother in floods, it's just they've become immune to the sight of me with rivulets of mascara running down my cheeks.
I've always been a big softie about emotional things but whatever internal dam I had, holding back the floods, burst the day I had my first child and never quite repaired.
And it seems that I'm not alone. Brad Pitt gave an interview last week, in which he explained that he'd had a lengthy dry spell in terms of crying.
His tear ducts had stayed desert-like for more than 20 years, he said, and went on to state that it wasn't issues like his relationship breakdowns or struggles with addiction that had finally turned the taps on again.
Instead, it was witnessing simple, moving moments between his kids.
Anthony Hopkins, who was also present at the same interview, said that he cried at the drop of a hat and explained that as he gets older he weeps, not for sad or grief-filled reasons, but because he's moved by the glory of life.
Which made me decide that I'm going to let the rivers continue to run and my children can roll their eyes all they want.
I'm taking my lead from Anthony on this one and allowing myself to be moved to tears by these wonderful, fleeting, festive, family moments.