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The Best Christmas Present Ever: 18 Millimetres Of Rain

Forget reindeer hooves on the roof or Santa’s sleigh bells.

The noise our family awoke to on Christmas morning brought joy and cheer to everyone gathered on my parents' little farm.

A few of us woke to hear it around 4 am and it kept falling for a solid five hours.

Yep -- actual, proper, real, heavy rain.

The rain started falling overnight. Image: Dan Sutton

As the morning mist lifted, Dad went for a walk through the paddocks to check on his cows and came back drenched and smiling.

No way he was wearing a raincoat today!

The gauge next to their veggie patch showed a solid 18mls — three or four times what the forecasters had even suggested they hope for.

No raincoats today. Image: Dan Sutton

My joker of a brother-in-law Aaron stripped off most of his kit and danced around in the house paddock getting wet, to the delight of all the kids.

Our city-slicker five-month-old hasn’t really ever seen decent rain, so this was quite an experience for her.

Image: Dan Sutton

Six weeks ago my parent's little village of Upper Lansdowne, half-an-hour north of Taree, was in the grip of a bushfire emergency.

Just like so many other NSW towns, they were surrounded by flames and smoke, and the local hall and school were among the buildings under threat. The mountains their farm sits beneath are still brown and charred.

National

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As the good stuff began falling, it somehow grabbed hold of that burnt bushfire scent and gave us a fresh whiff of it.

Just another reminder of how important this rain is.

Image: Dan Sutton

We need more of course. So much more. To put out the fires that continue to smoulder away in the bush, to fill up the dams and the billabongs here, and to turn that brown crunchy grass and dry dirt green again.

My folks are lucky, they don’t rely on their farm for their livelihood. Sure, they’ve had to sell a few cattle and buy in a tanker-load of water to have us for Christmas, but this is their retirement place.

But I know the happiness and hope in their eyes this morning was for their mates, their neighbours, and farmers in this area, who really, genuinely need every last drop.

The best Christmas gift of all. Image: Dan Sutton

For them, this rain is not enough, it’s a drop in the ocean, but it might just be enough for them to crack a smile this Christmas.

How about a repeat performance for Boxing Day, Santa?