The time next week it will be Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, probably the most magical night of the year. One when children everywhere (big ‘children’ too) really want to ‘believe’. Excited, eager, little faces press their noses to the window staring out into the dark wintery sky hoping to catch a glimpse of a sleigh before being ushered to bed to hang up their stockings! Sparkling eyes and twinkling lights, it’s a night of hope and expectation, a night of miracles when maybe dreams come true, it’s the best night of the year!

Christmas Eve, stories by the Christmas TreeAs small children on Christmas Eve, before going to bed we sat by the tree and listened to our mother read our favorite Christmas story about two small children called David and Cynthia and what happened to them on this wondrous night. My sister and I have re-told it to our children and I am sure will do so for our grandchildren! After we had carefully placed a mince pie and small glass of sherry by the fireplace we scampered off to bed and were told we must hurry to sleep as Father Christmas wouldn’t come to children who were awake. I remember lying in the dark feeling so impossibly excited, thinking I would be awake all night, of course I never was!

Once we were older we were allowed to join our parents for Christmas Eve dinner, it was quite an occasion! All dressed up and seated at my mother’s beautiful candle light table, we would eat a delicious supper (my mother is a fabulous cook) of roast pheasant. We would listen to my father who had that special way of recounting a story so that you felt you were there. After supper he would allow us to have tiny samples of the liquors from his collection of decanters, poured into tiny, sparkling crystal glasses, which as teenagers we teased him about, calling them the ‘mean glasses’, after all they were the size of a thimble! It was the first time we properly wished each other a ‘Happy Christmas’, smiling faces glowing by the candle light surrounded by the anticipation of Christmas yet to come.