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CHRIST­MAS Eve is one of those sa­cred nights in my fam­ily. When I was young, liv­ing in coun­try Vic­to­ria, we’d go to the Bar­ling fam­ily’s house, get Chi­nese take­away and sing along to the carols. It was magic.

Mum tells peo­ple there’s a five-year-old kid trapped in­side me. I squeal when the tree goes up, bake enough cakes and slices to feed the en­tire neigh­bour­hood, hand­make presents, and of course, check my list twice.

I adore spend­ing time with fam­ily, mak­ing more of an ef­fort to give to char­ity, catch­ing up with friends and let­ting the peo­ple I love know just how spe­cial they are to me.

To me, Christ­mas be­gins at 8pm on De­cem­ber 24, when the carols start. I turn down of­fers from friends to go out booz­ing and sit with my fam- ily, light a bunch of can­dles and sing my heart out.

Mum used to make my sis­ter and I match­ing Christ­mas out­fits — she’d al­ways be so busy, stay­ing up late sewing them on Christ­mas Eve.

Even if you’re not re­li­gious, I chal­lenge you not to get a bit emo­tional when Ma­rina Prior, Sil­vie Pal­adino and, of course, De­nis Wal­ter take to the stage in front of that sea of light to sing clas­sics such as Mary’s Boy Child and O Holy Night. I used to dream I’d stand on that stage in front of all those peo­ple and see the massed can­dles, but sadly my sing­ing voice won’t get me there.

My only hope is to steal the host­ing gig from Karl and Lisa. Hmmm, now there’s an idea.

No, they do a good job — I much pre­fer them to Ray.

Though the Carols did lose the plot a few years back when it turned into the Newton fam­ily show; the whole clan sang and danced for act af­ter act. Talk about cheesy and in­dul­gent.

Carols this year is cel­e­brat­ing its 73rd birth­day, which is an in­cred­i­ble feat.

And as for that five-year-old trapped in­side me, I hope she never es­capes. Carols by Can­dle­light 8pm, Chan­nel 9

Emo­tional: Ma­rina Prior.

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