The wrapping is done, Mrs Q has retired to bed and Rudolf has eaten his carrot. It's well past the witching hour again, and this particular night - the early hours of Christmas morning - has always been a favourite of mine, more so now than when I was a kid.
There is something magical about the quiet dead of night as we say goodbye to Christmas Eve. Is it the air of anticipation of seeing the childrens' eyes light up when they walk into the front room in the morning (assuming, naively, that I can get up before them)? Is it the fact there's no work for the next four days? Is it the opportunity to indulge myself in a little bubble of solitude after the usual chaotic run-up to Christmas? The answer is, they all play at part, along with the fact that it is an occasion to reflect on what's gone before and ponder what may come to pass in the next 12 months.
Whatever your circumstances, no matter how busy you are on Christmas Day or how many people you're entertaining, remember to take a few minutes for yourself. Hide yourself away, whether it's in the garage, the attic or the closet. Indulge yourself. Honestly, you'll be forgiven.
All that remains is to wish everyone a merry Christmas and all the very best for 2011. For all writers out there, I hope it's the year you've been dreaming about. And if you're one of the huge army of writers seeking a breakthrough, let me double that. I'll be back blogging early in the New Year, when this place will have had a facelift.
Till then, take care.