These are the precious days- the last few, when all the preparations will come together with hopefully no stress. We have shopped local (for the most part) this year so most of our present buying is done. It's time to slow down and enjoy the moments as they happen. I light the candles early in the morning - it helps against the winter gloom and their light casts shadows from an early-opened Christmas present (dear friend, you chose well!). The boys are nearly beside themselves with excitement and yesterday we kicked off our holidays with a trip to The National Concert Hall to see The Snowman performed by their orchestra. There was live puppet animation by Matthew Robins- it was just beautiful with intricately cut paper puppets and, of course, there were lots of carols and Christmas songs which we all joined in with. We bought paper cones of fantastic maple and pecan popcorn from the vendors at the side of St. Stephen's Green and enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of people as we strolled through the park. Today we are at home with nothing more pressing on the agenda than making pancakes and having a family movie night. These are the precious days.