Fiona Duff: The house is more full than the stockings

Hunting for stocking fillers can be time-consuming

Hunting for stocking fillers can be time-consuming

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It’s holiday time which only means one thing in my home – and that’s a house full of kids.

Technically that’s not exactly true as two are now adults and spend most of their lives in other cities. But come Christmas they appear back in Edinburgh expecting a bed and a fridge full of food. With the youngest now on a break from school trips to the supermarket seem to have become a lot more frequent and the bags I return with are fuller than usual.

It is also a hard time for kitchen equipment. The dishwasher seems to need to be turned on about twice a day, the washing machine is constantly churning away and the toaster is about to collapse with exhaustion.

Living quite near the centre of town also means that when their friends want to meet up before they hit the clubs, it seems to be our gaff that is the venue of choice. Our recycling bins overflow and I feel I should put a note saying “students back at home” to explain the situation.

On the plus side of having older children they don’t seem to be so inquisitive about presents, which in years gone by I would have to stash in secret places until I wrapped them. That’s if I could actually remember where the secret places were.

Mind you even with the passing years I am not allowed to give up on stockings, the finding of things with which to fill them is a lot more time-consuming than buying the main presents.

That, of course, does not apply to Him Outdoors who seems to do a quick supermarket sweep in about ten minutes.

One year he forgot until well into the dark hours of Christmas Eve and I ended up with lots of things he found in the kitchen. Half a jar of Marmite is not anywhere near the top of anyone’s wish list.

However, even with the noise, the mess and the huge meals that need to be prepared it really wouldn’t feel like Christmas without the blighters being around.