It is dark outside and we are in the week leading up to Christmas day.
The house is full of Christmas, lights twinkling at the windows, holly bough on the door and three advent calendars lined up in the kitchen.
The smells of christmas come from the kitchen. Mince pies on the side and the cupboards groaning with cheeses, crisps, nuts and ingredients to make chocolate puddings.
We are bubbling with excitement for christmas, for the traditions, for Santa Claus. The boxes of oranges are by the back door, in preparation to make Christingle candles.
It is a Saturday evening and we have had a cosy day of reading our favourite christmas stories and decorating the tree. The lounge smells of pine needles already and we are giggling as we tell each other where were have hidden the chocolates on the tree.
After dinner we crowd into the lounge and embark on a funny tradition we do most weekends through advent.
We one at a time choose one of the candles around the room.
They are a fun collection. Some are in lanterns, some have patterns that show through when lit, some are huge and fat, some are tall and thin.
They are scattered about the room during advent, resting on the hearth by the fire or on the windowsill.
We all pick our candles, all five of us. We have our favourites. The box of matches is taken out and one at a time we light them.
My Dad walks over to the lamps and goes around turning them off one by one.
The room is now dark except for the twinkling of the lights on the Christmas tree and the five candles flickering on the table.
We sit there quietly, staring at the flames, remarking how lovely it looks-the lounge lit by candlelight.
After a time in the stillness my Mum starts up the candle song, "see the candlelight, see it burning bright, we don't need it while we're sleeping, blow it out at night".
The smoke rises in tendrils to the ceiling and we are left with the fairy tree lights and the almost tangible magic of family at Christmas.
Today I am joining in with the lovely Sian and her storytelling Sunday.
Sian, thank you for making storytelling a joy these last few years. Thank you for the connections you have weaved across the web as we have shared the threads of our lives with each other in the most organic and natural of ways. I feel blessed to have been a part of this meme for so long.