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The night before Christmas

December 28, 2014
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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse –

Only in our house, people slowly but surely began to spill in, each carrying bags of treats and goodies, food and presents!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you’ve had a grand Christmas over the weekend because we sure did!

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We rushed over from work in the setting sun of dusk just in time to help with the last of the preparation. Excitement tingled in our toes, fingers, ears and nose as we waited for the candles to be lit and the call of dinner to ring across the house.

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Like last year, we brought the turkey again and couldn’t be more delighted to hear how juicy and delicious it was. The Ninja was beaming ear to ear from the compliments until we brought it out into the dining hall and saw the rest of the food on the table — the ham, the beef roast, the smoked salmon, shepherd’s pie and tonnes more than we could ever fit in one seating. Our turkey was soon forgotten as everything melded into a nice hum that sang a quiet melody in the background.

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Red and silver swam before our eyes, interspersed with the occasional splash of green. The smell of food wafted through the house, which made our hearts soar at the merry-making that awaited later in the night.

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A little cheer escaped everyone’s mouths when the cue came to start digging in. It was all we could do to hold back any further given how tantalising everything looked! The golden-brown skin of the turkey, the rich red of the cranberry sauce, the deep caramel of the roast beef and the sunshiny yellow of the shepherd’s pie!

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Like every year, someone jumped right in and helped himself to the leg of turkey before anyone else could beat him to it! Hahahaha.

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Every corner of the house was good to snuggle into that evening, as everyone found their spots to sit down and dig in. Under the stairs, in the corner by the bar, a little further back into the house at the kitchen — the cosier, the better!

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Little Tezze wanted a share of the pie too!

After dinner was my favourite part, when everyone just hung out and basked in the warmth and love of family gathered together and revelled in the nice buzz result of a full stomach from a really good dinner.

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Game of the night was Charades.

For a good hour, laughter rang through the house as everyone tried to act out the most ridiculous scenarios without uttering a single word. Words ranged from the easy skiing and surfing to the near-impossible doing the laundry and giving CPR.

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It was equal parts good fun, equal parts good workout and equal parts slight frustration — all in the best way.

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Wine and vanilla vodka soon got everyone stomping harder and screaming out muffled cried louder trying to get a hint across, as the minutes ticked closer to midnight. Soon, everyone was breathless from laughing, shouting, pointing and gesturing and collapsed in a pile of giggly bodies with each other.

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When finally the battery on the Ninja’s phone was exhausted, it was time to return to good old-fashioned Christmas carols — undoubtedly my favourite Christmas pasttime after learning the words to the more popular songs last year!

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Uncle Frankie was a dream on the guitar, as he is every year. Doesn’t matter what the song is that you want him to play, just sing or hum the first few lines to him and he’ll get you the rest of it to sing along. Maracas joined in the orchestra this year, which unfortunately did not last the night. In all the excitement, one broke and scattered its beads all over the living room, which brought on another bout of laughter that hurt the stomach and brought tears to the eyes.

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It was a night of only the best things — good food, twinkling lights, a towering Christmas tea adorned with the shiniest baubles and prettiest bows, and the company of the liveliest family of people you’ll come to meet on Christmas Eve.

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Laughter was heard most generously and jokes were thrown across the hall with no spare.

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Drinks were poured in equal stead and consumed just as fast.

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Eating did not stop until late into the night  as people made second, third, fourth trips to the dining table for a late-night recap.

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Even Tezze stole some snacks of her own whenever she could get away with it hahahaha.

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Finally, at a couple hours past midnight, it was time for the grand finale all the kids were most looking forward to — presents!

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Everyone sat straight upright in their seats as Auntie Ann and Ian ransacked the loot under the tree in search of lucky names on beautifully-wrapped parcels.

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This year, we were able to give presents as opposed to only receiving them, and it was the best feeling ever! You don’t forget the look on a little boy or girl’s face when they you hand them a present with their names on it. Their hands shake as they figure out how to open it before their eyes widen in the utmost disbelief at what lies beneath the paper and twine.

Giving is certainly one of the best feelings in the world one can experience, if not for the act of making someone’s day, then for the gratitude and happiness that is written all across their faces.

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Is there anything more beautiful than the sound of ‘Thank you’ and ‘I love it’ ringing in the air, orchestrated by the ripping of paper and crinkle of ribbon.

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Lots of hugs were exchanged and more love filled the air, marking the true spirit of Christmas.

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I love this photo for so many reasons — all the hugging going on in the foreground and background simultaneously; the beaming smiles of love and gratitude; the close bond of family across different generations just happening all at once.

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Another year, another great Christmas in the bag. One last look at the beautiful Christmas tree that has seen so many moments and made equally as many memories of its own.

That was our 5th Christmas together and it gets better every year! I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!

Happy new week everyone and may your end of the year come to a beautiful close!

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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