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Christmas Eve was when the real magic began.There was something in the air and the feeling of anticipation was almost palpable.Shoppers rushing for last minute presents.The biting cold wind in your face, fingers tucked into gloves; thick socks and silly pom-pom hats.Wooly jumpers with reindeer patterns.Stressed mothers and fathers dragging hyperactive children around supermarkets to the tune of tired Christmas songs.The fight for the last frozen turkey, too much chocolate, mince pies, eggnog, and buck's fizz.There was a buzz and energy, a chaotic day of preparation and nervous excitement.By evening when most of the work had been done people began to relax.Bottles of champagne were popped, and families gathered together to watch Christmas movies on TV.Every year as a child my father would sit me and my brother on his lap, and read us The Night Before Christmas.We would warm our hands over the fire, as chestnuts roasted in the ash beneath the grate.My mother would eat blue cheese and crackers, the lights of the Christmas tree glinting in the reflection of the window.We would stare up at the night sky, hoping for snow, or walk outside in the frosty air, as our breaths rose from our lips like billowing ghosts, to admire the Christmas lights that decorated the neighbour's houses.As it neared 10pm, my brother and I would gather near the fireplace and hang out our empty stockings for Santa.Our Christmas lists had been written and sent up the chimney weeks before.We would take a glass of whisky and leave it for Santa, and leave a carrot for Rudolph.It was then up to bed, lying with the lights out, butterflies in our stomachs, listening for the clip clop of reindeer and the sounds of bells on the roof.Suddenly it was morning, and that feeling is like no other, when you suddenly realise that this is no ordinary day.We would rush downstairs, open the door to the living room, and see a huge pile of presents under the Christmas tree, a stuffed stocking, and my parents smiling and waiting.We always knew that Santa had been, because the whisky had been drunk and only the end of the carrot eaten.Needless to say, I never quite stopped believing.

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Christmas Eve was when the real magic began. There was something in the air and the feeling of anticipation was almost palpable. Shoppers rushing for last minute presents. The biting cold wind in your face, fingers tucked into gloves; thick socks and silly pom-pom hats. Wooly jumpers with reindeer patterns. Stressed mothers and fathers dragging hyperactive children around supermarkets to the tune of tired Christmas songs. The fight for the last frozen turkey, too much chocolate, mince pies, eggnog, and buck’s fizz. There was a buzz and energy, a chaotic day of preparation and nervous excitement. By evening when most of the work had been done people began to relax. Bottles of champagne were popped, and families gathered together to watch Christmas movies on TV. Every year as a child my father would sit me and my brother on his lap, and read us The Night Before Christmas. We would warm our hands over the fire, as chestnuts roasted in the ash beneath the grate. My mother would eat blue cheese and crackers, the lights of the Christmas tree glinting in the reflection of the window. We would stare up at the night sky, hoping for snow, or walk outside in the frosty air, as our breaths rose from our lips like billowing ghosts, to admire the Christmas lights that decorated the neighbours’ houses. As it neared 10pm, my brother and I would gather near the fireplace and hang out our empty stockings for Santa. Our Christmas lists had been written and sent up the chimney weeks before. We would take a glass of whisky and leave it for Santa, and leave a carrot for Rudolph. It was then up to bed, lying with the lights out, butterflies in our stomachs, listening for the clip clop of reindeer and the sounds of bells on the roof. Suddenly it was morning, and that feeling is like no other, when you suddenly realise that this is no ordinary day. We would rush downstairs, open the door to the living room, and see a huge pile of presents under the Christmas tree, a stuffed stocking, and my parents smiling and waiting. We always knew that Santa had been, because the whisky had been drunk and only the end part of the carrot eaten. Needless to say, I never quite stopped believing.