Every year

we drag in the tree from the back corner of the garden

and dry pine needles are strewn across the floor

and the living room looks like Christmas


My dad lays strings of lights out

to test for broken bulbs

whilst mum stuffs gammon with cloves

and the kitchen smells like Christmas


My brother and I break out boxes of dusty firecrackers

and fluffy red hats

we throw glittering tinsel into any dark corner

and light candles shaped like snowmen

and the whole house feels like Christmas


The doorbell heralds the arrival of family

person after person pours in

we gather around the piano to giggle and sing carols

and the mince pies taste like Christmas


We drive around at night

in the quiet car

to gawk at shimmering gardens

decorations spilling into the street

and the whole world feels like anticipation and wonder and Christmas


I wake up on the 25th

nuzzle away the last fuzzy moments of sleep

and hear the crinkling of presents as I wriggle my feet

my smile is instant


We brew coffee

and sit around the tree

deciphering cards and trying not to tear the paper

and the chimes sound in the South African summer wind


We ladle impossible amounts of food onto plates

and sit laughing around the table

wearing cracker hats and telling silly jokes

the afternoon plays in slow motion


And I fall so utterly in love with the feeling of Christmas



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