Christmas is well underway in our house. The decorations are out, the tree is up and our wooden nativity scene is once again installed on top of a bookcase. The figures are from the Christmas market in Trier, Germany, near where I used to live and have been collected over many years. We tend to buy one or two pieces to add to the collection each time we go. They’ve got a really distinct smell owing to the wood and paint used and have the emblem of the carver burnt into the bottom of each figure.

Eagled-eyed visitors have noticed that Jesus is missing – that’s because he hasn’t been born yet. He’s safely stowed away in my knicker drawer and will magically appear on Christmas morning…