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Afternoon all.

Not sure about you, but I'm starting to feel increasingly Christmassy. I spent last night cooking some stuff to put in the freezer ready for a family do on Boxing Day and stirred away happily, humming along to some classic Christmas tunes. What's your favourite? A bit of Chris Rea, 'Driving Home for Christmas'? 'Stop the Cavalry' by Jona Lewie? What about the Pogues and Kirsty Maccoll, 'A Fairty Tale of New York'? Classics! Actually, I think I'm the only person I know who'll even admit to liking 'Mistletoe and Wine'. At least Cliff was actually singing about Christmas.

Not for you? How about something more recent? What about last year's Christmas number one by Alexandra Burke? Or the year before when Leon Jackson was at the top of the charts? 2006? Leona Lewis. 2005 - Shane Ward. You get the idea. The Christmas chart is now almost certain to be topped by wheover wins the X-Factor and it's a source of severe irritation to many. When I was growing up, waiting to hear who had the Christmas number one was as much a part of the festive traditions as paper crowns, forgetting the batteries and numerous failed attempts to light the Christmas pudding (tip - light a ladle full of brandy before pouring over the pud, thus minimising the chances of setting fire to the table cloth.)

Now, every few days recently, my feelings of festiveness have been enhanced by my walk past a new ice sculpture at St. Pancras station on the way home. So far, I've taken snaps on my phone to show the kids of a massive Christmas tree and a glistening Big Ben. Really impressive. But, what do you think the latest offering is? A huge present? Carol singers? Father Christmas? The Nativity scene? No...it's a life size sculpture of the X-Factor judges - adding further fuel to speculation that Simon Cowell won't rest until he's given a live television address every Christmas afternoon and children write to him with their wish-lists instead of Father Christmas.

Actually, that's a bit unfair. A quick look at the Christmas number ones over the past 60 years show everything from Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in 1975, to Pink Floyd's, 'Another Brick in The Wall' in 1979 and 'Return to Sender' by Elvis Presley in 1962, which, unless it was written by a disgruntled child about his present from Santa, isn't a Christmas record either? The X-Factor might be stopping other songs getting to number one at Christmas, but it isn't stopping anyone else releasing them. There's no shame in making the top ten!

So...while a sculpture of the judges is a little random, I'll grant you, I'm going to go with it. Partly because I love the show and can't wait for this weekend's final (how often do you get a programme you can sit with your seven year-old daughter and both enjoy watching?), partly because it's really impressive, and partly because we've sent Chrissie down to take a closer look and possibly try her hand a doing a sculpture of her own. Goodness knows what will greet me on the way home tonight!

See you later

Matt and Nina.
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