Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale
'Twas the night before Christmas and the excitement from a certain 3 year old was a truly wonderful thing to behold.
This was Luca's first Christmas where he seemed to really get into the 'swing' of Christmas, checking every day for the past week in his Christmas stocking for a special treat, watching 'The Polar Express' numerous times with wide-eyed-wonder and spontaneously singing Christmas carols along with 'Happy Birthday Dear Jesus'. Bless his dear wee heart.
This was our first Christmas where it was just us as a family for Christmas Day.
No cooking for the masses this year.
No reason at all to set foot outside the door.
I was so looking forward to r e l a x i n g in the cosy warm comfort of my own home this year.
And that's exactly what we did.
Aunty Gretchie arrived on Christmas Eve bearing gifts, cheeses and bottles of wine.
So we let her in.
We hung gingerbread cookies on the Christmas Tree.
We feasted upon a meal of duck stuffed with pork, orange and ginger.
As I turned everything off for the night I found myself, upon numerous occasions, stopping and staring at our Christmas Tree with all the presents under it - their wrapping paper and ribbons glinting in the soft glow cast from the lights on the tree. There was a familiar pull on my heart that was making me take the time to absorb the magic and beauty of the moment.
:::With morning came a different kind of magic.
Much joy and excitement filled every corner of our home (at a very early hour...) when Luca saw that Santa had actually been and left PRESENTS!!
Our pillowcases that were left beside the tree were now bearing gifts and were eagerly brought into our room and presents were opened on our bed as we rubbed sleep out of our eyes.
Watching the smiles and wonder on the faces of the little people as they opened their gifts was all I wanted this Christmas and it was gorgeous to see.
Note his pointing finger! He points at everything using his middle finger...
Of course there was the compulsory "Christmas Day Cry" as we opened presents sent from family in New Zealand. What would Christmas Day be without tears huh?
Then there was nothing else to do except eat, drink, celebrate and relax and enjoy the day with our family.
After the indulgence of the previous day, Boxing Day called for an outing to get some fresh air and a walk in Richmond Park.
Even though it was -5 degrees and footing in the icy snow was treacherous.
Tut tut Gretchie, tut tut. *disappointed shake of the head*
While we were there we watched a man brave the freezing water and break up the ice close to the shore so the ducks and swans had some water to swim in instead of only being able to stand on top of the ice.
As we headed back home with our thoughts centred on a hot lunch I was once again struck by a familiar pull on my heart - it was a thankfulness that filled my heart and urged me to take the time and absorb and appreciate the beauty of this moment.
The beauty of my God's creation.
The beauty of my precious, priceless, amazing family.
This Christmas I am full to the brim with gratefulness.