Matt Bloomfield column: Leaving my daughter on Christmas Day will be hard
Christmas Day is taking a slightly different tone for me this year.
For the past few seasons we have been lucky with our festive fixtures - we have been at home on several occasions, and the times we have been on our travels, the trips have been very short.
This year we are at Plymouth, which means an overnight stay.
It will obviously be hard leaving my little girl. She is my world, and missing out on spending the majority of Christmas Day with her won't be easy.
However, we are professionals and are extremely lucky to do what we do for a living. As I have said in this column many times before, I would never moan or complain, as I genuinely love my job, and I accept and understand the sacrifices that need to be made.
Not drinking, watching what I eat, making sure the quality and length of my sleep is good enough, working hard on my fitness - these are all things that are part of my lifestyle, and they're ingrained in me after so many years.
There will be so many people across the country in the same boat on Christmas Day. The nurses and those in the emergency services, whose jobs are vital, will be eating their Christmas dinner in various different surroundings. These guys do it year after year and do an amazing job.
Festive party antics
December is always an enjoyable, but busy, month for footballers.
The Christmas party is usually the first activity and it's always a hot topic in the dressing room. I'm sure you've seen plenty of photos and videos on social media of teams dressed in some kind of fancy dress or crazy attire in a city in Britain or, very occasionally, further afield.
Some lads look forward to the Christmas party from pre-season, while others genuinely aren't so bothered. The non-drinkers will always still attend, but some lads do need a little encouragement for a night or two away from home.
The fines system will have been in place from early July as a way of self-policing team discipline, but also providing funds to spend on the festive party, and someone will have been volunteered to be the guy who makes the necessary calls to ensure hotels and nightclubs are all booked.
I have always enjoyed the social side of football. Seeing the lads away from the training ground is a great way of getting to know one another better, and the bonding that comes from it is very useful.
Giving something back
Hospital visits are another part of December's activities to look forward to.
It's one club appearance you will never hear any complaints or grumblings about.
The satisfaction and genuine enjoyment the lads get from these visits is pure.
Seeing children in hospital is horrible, but to give them some happiness and a highlight to enjoy is so rewarding.
I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!