For me, only in childhood was this time of year something to be excited about but all I can remember about that excitment was one Christmas in Paraguay when I was about six and it was hot and ornaments were hung on a little palm tree.
My childhood I do remember vividly, if not always happily, but always as a state preferable to adulthood. Whatever I am now was formed then and getting rid of most of the accretions that time has piled on top of the original is a task I consider to be essential. It's not a case of PeterPan-ism, sentimental nostalgia for childhood. Imagine a well-crafted little boat sailing on the ocean. As the years pass, barnacles and other stuff accumulates on the hull and slow it down, weigh it down. What I mean by 'getting back to the original' is therefore a kind of psychological/creative/metaphorical housecleaning - or rather boat-cleaning.
What never ceases to astonish, delight and inspire me is the originality of young children, generally before the age of ten. The things they say and do, the expressions on their faces. I marvel at them, entranced. Not having had children of my own I'm well aware that I've escaped the not-at-all entrancing bits, the sleepless nights, the endless chores, the irritations, anxieties etc. But that's no reason to give up being amazed by children.
So here's something to celebrate the season of childhood. When my niece Sarah was about nine or ten, her father (my brother) invented a bedtime story for her which she then illustrated with line drawings. When I saw the story and the drawings I was charmed and decided to publish The Piper of the Stars (NdA Press 1986) as a small hand-printed edition. I traced and etched Sarah's drawings, added aquatint, and printed the images on my etching press. Sarah and her father preferred using a pseudonym. The text was hand-set and printed on an 'Adana' treadle platen press in London by the legendary Polish printer Stanislaw Gliwa. It was his last project before he died. Below are the cover, title page and a couple of the illustrations.