NOT that many years ago, Greg and I were often mocked for our Tigger-like enthusiasm to start Christmas as soon as possible. Our love for the season knows no bounds; Bay’s middle name is Noelle after our obsession. This year, we are lagging behind and I’ve seen Christmas trees up in windows for a few weeks now. I asked Greg angrily last night ‘how on earth are we being beaten in the game of Christmas?’

Greg’s thinking is that the world is a tough and confusing place at the moment and instead of thinking about looming political disasters, people would rather get involved with fairy lights. I understand this; when you feel helpless, sometimes a glittery distraction is just the tonic. But this didn’t help me understand why we are yet to even discuss Christmas, let alone get the decorations out or watch any festive films. Greg is on a treatment break and we now have small children who are quick to list everything they want from Santa so surely we should be knee deep in baubles? (As a side note, Dali has asked for a tablet. A tablet?! She has literally just turned five. I think I got Fashion Wheel when I was five).

Hmmm. I don’t know the answer. Maybe the reality of our situation has tainted some of Christmas for me. I’m not so enthralled by the adverts and the constant pressure to consume, consume, consume - whether that be your body weight in meat and cheese or electrical gadgets that will reside in a drawer come January 1st. Maybe I’m afraid of the weight of Christmas. I had the privilege of always having happy Christmases and now I realise that this time of year can be so difficult for many people. Maybe somewhere in the back of my head I’m terrified that this will be our last and the reality of that is something I cant face.

Or maybe it’s just that I don’t have the energy for it. I said this to Greg and he shot this idea down immediately. He is desperate for a magical Christmas and birthday as his scans and treatment start immediately in the New Year. Can anything live up to those expectations? I’m not sure but we can at least start by watching Elf and finding the tangled mess of fairy lights under the stairs.

* Stacey Heale has left her career as a fashion lecturer to focus on her two lively little girls and husband, Delays frontman Greg Gilbert, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in November 2016. She launched the viral campaign Give4Greg to raise funds for lifesaving treatment: You can read more at her blog,