With all the wonder and magical promise of adventures yet to come,
our Christmas tree this year is inspired by the classical Nutcracker tale.
There are nutcracker soldiers which are almost 20 years old,
selected by my son when he was a baby from David Jones's gorgeous decorations.
His eyes wide with wonder, he pointed and we bought,
and they have been carefully carried across country and continents ever since with our many moves.
Their wear and tear marks make them ever-more sentimentally loved.
Barbie has the lead role of Clara,
the little girl who threw her shoe at the mouse king in order to defend her nutcracker soldier.
And here is the bejewelled shoe!
Hiding in the branches is the Prince,
transformed from Nutcracker to Royalty once that evil mouse king was defeated with Clara's help.
(You see, pretty shoes are useful things after all...)
Clara's reward was a visit to the Land of Sweets,
so chocolates have grown on the tree...
and what else?
Impossibly large flowers have bloomed.
It's a land where teacups dance,
and flower fairies twirl.
It's a place of fantasy and fun: with all the promise of Christmas magic.
In the background, sitting behind the tree, is a red suitcase,
all packed with warm clothes,
itself ready to go on a grand adventure as my daughter flies off to Paris and London on Boxing Day.
And while she's gone,
we will be doing a little of our own magic,
moving from one house to another,
from one life to another.
So, on this Christmas Eve,
as the sun shines glintingly across the pool, illuminating the garden with its twinkled warmth,
with the presents all wrapped and under the Nutcracker tree,
and just before we drink a toast of Sparkling Pinot Gris,
I'm thinking it really is a most wonderful time of year.
Wishing you the most happiest of Christmases!