The house is quiet, the kids are sleeping, and my wife is despairingly following me about the place as I insist on not only providing stockings brimming with little presents to each of our little ones, but also unearthing bundles of larger, more lavish presents from various hiding places around the house and placing them under the tree. This all has to be done in almost complete darkness and long after we have managed to get the children to head off towards the land of nod, in order to preserve the illusion; yes none of them yet know for sure whether or not Santa real.
The last of the presents is safely under the tree and my wife coaxes me out onto the deck, into the warm night air, and immediately the illusion is lost for me as well. I grew up in England; the idea of being able to stand around outside in shorts with my shirt off is not a part of the Christmas experience for me, even after twelve years in Australia.
Still the ocean does look beautiful, waves breaking on the moonlit beach,
“Coming for a swim?”