It’s the most wonderful time of the year… apart from the fact that it’s flipping freezing. Your warm and fuzzy visions of your first winter with your little one are melting faster than a snowman in a built-up area…

The dream: Party time in cute seasonal outfits

The reality: Festive fancy dress of some kind is a must while your child is too young to object… too young to object verbally, that is. The minute you shoehorn your wriggling beast into that super-cute Christmas jumper/elf outfit, it seems that something is up. They fidget, they cry, they stare at you as if you are more Satan than Santa.

The dream: A romantic family stroll around a picturesque park

The reality: Leaving the house with a baby is time-consuming whatever the weather, but in winter it’s so much worse – all those extra layers for them AND you means that, by the time you actually get out, it’s nearly dark. And then there’s the fact that as soon as your special snowflake’s face hits the harsh, outside world, their nose starts running and running and running. Snot fair.

The dream: Cute photos with Father Christmas to smugly post on Insta

The reality: We spend our lives telling children not to talk to strangers, and then we plonk them on the knee of a strange bearded man bellowing “ho ho ho!” and expect them to smile? As if! Ditch the high pressure (and high cost) of a Santa shoot until they’re old enough to appreciate it (ETA: never) and take some festive photos at home instead.

The dream: Looking super-hot on your first night out in ages

The reality: Because your baby always has had a permanent cold since Halloween, so do you. This means that when the big Christmas night out you’ve been planning for ages rolls around, you’re worried you’ll be mistaken for Rudolph. Why is it that the most sociable time of year is also the time when we’re most likely to be crusty-nosed, flaky-skinned, knackered and bloated? Still, that’s what filters are for.