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My earliest memory of Christmas Eve is being too excited to sleep. Desperate to hear Santa clambering down the chimney, I propped myself up in my bed and listened. For what felt like hours. Come morning, when I read Santa’s note thanking my brothers and me for the biscuits and wine we had left by the chimney, I was all too excited to worry about having missed him.

After all, he had left presents.

Growing up, the morning of December 25th would be spent wrapping up warm and enjoying a walk in the woods with family, friends and our dogs. There is something about the outdoors on a cold crisp Christmas morning that is rather special and as we would be spending the rest of the day gorging ourselves silly, a bit of exercise and fresh air made everyone feel somewhat better.

For the past few years we have escaped christmas as we knew it.

I’ve grown accustomed to having Christmas dinner on January 2nd and spending December 25th soaking up some winter sunshine and exchanging presents while breakfasting on a terrace overlooking this view…

Can you blame me?

..but more about holiday later.

As I can’t yet tell you about my post-Christmas-Christmas dinner, I thought I would tell you about my pre-Christmas-Christmas dinner!

Last Sunday, for the first time, the girls and I decided to cook our own festive feast.

It was great.

So great that I’m going to share it with you!

I arrived early to lend Alice (the hostess with the mostest) a helping hand

While she was busy laying and decorating the table, I took charge of the vegetables

From 7pm the troops began arriving – each armed with their own contribution to the meal

Christmas attire was donned

Crackers were cracked

Food was devoured

Secret Santas were revealed

And though we were all absolutely stuffed full to our brims, a little dessert was squeezed in without too much effort

Our Christmas meal is now tradition. We want to be fighting over crackers, stuffing our bellies silly and exchanging presents well into our 90s.

And with this lot, I think it just might happen.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a very happy day!