"But it really doesn't feel like Christmas" Emily complained in the break room one day as they gathered after an anomaly.

"Why?" Matt asked handing her a cup of tea "What's wrong?"

"In my time it was important to do things with friends and family and there were new things like Christmas crackers and trees"

"Things like that are still important to our Christmases" Connor informed her "Remember when we had Christmas in the Cretaceous Abs?"

Abby smiled "We decorated that little twig with whatever we could find and made each other a present and sang carols by firelight"

"That sounds so romantic" Jess sighed dreamily.

"I love to sing carols`" Emily interrupted "It was customary to go to church or sing carols in the parlour. Some even sang in the street"

"Even on the base we celebrated Christmas with services and carols" Becker interjected.

"Did you give gifts too?" Jess asked Emily.

"Yes, small tokens were exchanged with close family and friends, and visitors." Emily replied. "We made a lot of our presents and decorations. But since I've been

here I haven't had time to find out about how Christmas is celebrated in this time."

"Well, we have two weeks till Christmas, to make you Christmassy" Abby smiled.

"And we have a day off tomorrow" Jess added with a grin.

"Shopping?" Abby grinned back.

"Shopping!" Jess agreed.

Becker rolled his eyes. "Really?!"

"Come on, mate" Connor nudged him. "Don't tell me you've bought all yours and wrapped them already"

Becker looked at him disbelievingly. "And you haven't?"

"Bet you've had your tree up for ages too" Abby teased

"I don't do decorations" Becker replied.

"Why doesn't that surprise me" Connor said quietly.

"What do we need to go shopping for?" Emily asked.

"Presents" Jess spoke up

"Decorations" Abby added

"Food" Connor joined in.

Emily looked at Matt and he shrugged. "Don't look at me. Didn't have much of a Christmas where I'm from"

Abby hooked her arm round his and smiled. "Well, I think you need a bit of Christmas spirit too then."

Matt looked thoughtful "OK then. But I think I could live to regret this."

Jess squealed excitedly "This is going to be brilliant" And she set about making a list of everything they needed to get.

"Matt?" Emily began hesitantly.

He waited expectantly.

"Can we have a tree and decorations?"

He smiled "Sure. Why not"

The anomaly detector went off and stopped all thoughts of Christmas planning.

By the time the anomaly had been dealt with and they made their way back to the ARC, it was dark and many houses had their Christmas lights on.

"Matt, look!" Emily exclaimed, pointing to a house totally decorated.

"That must've taken some time" He murmured pulling over so Emily could get a closer look. "Jess" He spoke into his earpiece "Where's the best place to see

Christmas lights?"

"That'll be Oxford Street, Regent Street, and don't forget... " She began listing.

"Thanks Jess. Can you send me a list" Matt cut her off "We're taking a detour. See you in the morning"

"Will do" She answered "Have fun"

Emily looked at him puzzled.

"I didn't have Christmas lights either" He smiled taking out his earpiece and driving off.

.

They all met up in the Coffee shop, already ladened with bags.

"I have never seen so many things for sale" said Emily, still not used to the present day commercialism.

"We've only just started" Jess said seriously "We still have to get more presents, and food and..."

"Jess!" Abby stopped her "Don't overload Emily all at once"

Jess stopped and turned to her friends "Sorry, Emily. I just want it to be perfect for you"

Emily smiled at her "I know"

"What did you used to do for Christmas?" Jess asked

"In Victorian times, it was very formal. A few decorations and a tree and a few hand made personalised gifts. It wasn't nearly as loud and colourful as all this."

"Did you celebrate Christmas through the anomalies?" Abby asked

"We lost track of the date and when you are trying to survive, it hardly seemed important."

Abby nodded understandingly.

"You and Connor are to be commended for observing the date during your time away" Emily added.

"It wasn't much, but Connor thought we ought to make the effort. And he was right. We needed days to forget how desperate things were." Abby watched her fingers

play with her cup.

Jess put an arm round each of her friends "And that is why this Christmas has to be brilliant, for both of you" She smiled.

Abby and Emily exchanged a glance before smiling at Jess "And it will be" Emily patted her hand.

"For us as well as you and a certain Captain." Abby smirked.

"Abby!" Jess tried to look as if she didn't know what Abby could mean. "We are just friends you know that."

"Whose just friends?" Connor asked coming up behind Abby and kissing her cheek as he pulled up a chair.

Matt and Becker pulled up chairs too as Jess looked flustered. "Oh... um... " she glanced at Becker and blushed. He tipped his head trying to hide a grin.

"All of us" Jess babbled "We're all friends. At least I hope we are. And Christmas is a time for friends. And families of course. Not that everyone has families."

"Jess" Abby said gently "We understand"

Jess looked around at all of them grinning at her "Yeah. Right"

"So what's everyone doing on the actual day then" Connor changed the subject.

"We have plans for lunch" Matt smiled at Emily

"We do?" She said in surprise

He nodded. "What about you guys?"

"Be going to my Grans same as always" Connor took a swig from his coffee.

"Be different this year though" Abby smiled at him

"Yeah, not taken me fiancé there before" He grinned giving her a quick kiss.

"What about you Captain Becker?" Emily asked.

"I go to my parents for Christmas lunch" He responded not looking excited. "What about you Jess?"

"My family are all going to my sisters this year." She sighed.

"You don't sound thrilled at the thought" Abby commented.

"I am. Really I am." She tried to sound excited. "I love family Christmases but Dad doesn't like my sister's husband and they argue and last year everyone had flu and

and my sister always wants to take charge of everything and.." she tailed off as Becker grinned at her rambling again.

"I know!" Emily butted in "Why don't we all meet in the evening at our apartment and enjoy the festivities together.

"Our apartment!" Matt whispered to her teasingly.

Emily looked concerned at her presumption.

Matt smiled "That will be great" He assured her.

So they all agreed to meet at Matt's after their other engagements on Christmas day.

"If we don't get a move on, Christmas won't happen." Jess said checking her watch.

"Hate to tell ya Jess, but Christmas will happen whether you're ready for it or not" Connor grinned and nudged her playfully.

As they all prepared to leave, Abby pulled Connor to one side and showed her some pictures on her phone "Can you get these as a surprise for Matt and Emily and

sneak them into their flat"

He grinned "Yeah, I'll get Action Man to help me."

She kissed him quickly "Thank you" she went off to join the girls and Connor spoke to Becker while they waited for Matt.

"We ought to get them a tree too." Becker said agreeing with Abby and Connor's plan.

"Thought you didn't do decorations" Connor teased.

"No reason to." Becker retaliated."Didn't say I didn't like them."

After a little while shopping Matt gave his keys to Becker. "Mind dropping this stuff off for me mate. Something I need to go do" Becker nodded.

"You can drop the man of mystery act Matt" Connor commented "We know who you are now"

Matt pulled a face "It's a surprise for Emily"

"Oh" Connor realised as Becker grabbed his shoulder and dragged him off.

By the time everyone got back to Matt's, Becker had put up a large real tree and adorned it with lights and Connor had strung white lights around the balcony, and

placed a snowman and reindeer made of white lights in opposite corners. They had just tidied away when the others came in.

Emily and Matt looked at each other before looking at their friends in astonishment.

"It is beautiful" Emily breathed "Thank you all of you"

"It's not finished yet" Connor said.

Becker handed Matt and Emily a box of tree decorations. "Thought you might like to do this yourselves"

Emily took the box and kissed his cheek "Thank you Becker"

"Yeah Thanks mate" Matt agreed putting an arm around Emily's shoulders as Becker patted his shoulder in acknowledgement.

"Why don't you all help us?" Emily asked

"If you're sure" Jess smiled.

"Of course" Matt smiled.

"Mulled wine anyone?" Abby asked pulling a bottle from her bag.

"Music?" Jess asked pulling a CD from hers.

"Party!" Connor shouted.

"Connor!" They all yelled back.

Matt pulled Emily to one side as the others made themselves busy "Here" He handed her an envelope tied with red ribbon.

"Shouldn't it wait?" she queried

"Not this one" He smirked

Emily opened the envelope

"What ya got there "Emily?" Connor called across the room.

"Tickets for the Nutcracker for Friday" She said quietly.

"Wow" Jess exclaimed "That's lovely"

"If you want to" Matt asked hesitantly.

"Thank you Matt I would love to" She smiled feeling quite emotional as she hugged him and kissed his cheek.

Becker stepped up behind Jess placing a casual hand on her shoulder "Any of you fancy carols by the tree in Trafalgar on Christmas eve?" He asked them all and

glancing at Jess.

"That would be really nice" Abby agreed. As did Matt and Emily.

Jess looked at him and blushed. "Yes. I'd like that too"

Connor grinned at him and said quietly "Good call Mate" He glanced at Jess as Becker tried to hide a smile and nudged Connor.

Soon they were all hard at work with lights and decorations as the air was filled with the smell of the mulled wine and the sound of Christmas music. They sang along

and laughed as they prepared for Christmas in the twenty-first century together.