At the Abdallah house, Christmas is big.
The family is big, their faith is big and so their plans, and, as you can see, the Christmas tree has to be big.
And as they prepared for their family Christmas celebrations, they invited The Catholic Weekly to join in the “big” fun.
“It’s always been a tradition for Leila and I to have a big family celebration at our house,” said Danny.
For Danny and Leila, the real joy of Christmas is creating a truly magical and joyful experience for their four children, Liana, Alex, Michael and Selina.
“They give us the strength, the joy and the motivation to keep going in life,” said Leila.
“They are our biggest blessing. They keep our house alive, and they give us the strength and purpose and joy to wake up and be the best version of ourselves.”
Picking the perfect tree is part of Danny’s Christmas wish for his family.
It’s about creating Christmas “sensory” memories for his children they’ll remember forever.
“The reason why I get a live tree is because I want my kids to smell Christmas and remember Christmas and the good memories when they’re older,” he said.
Every December, the Abdallah family do a lot of remembering.
It’s what makes every Christmas extra special.
This Christmas eve would have been their daughter Angelina’s 16th birthday.
So, this year, like every year, they will pack a picnic and birthday cake and head to Rookwood Cemetery to remember her special day.
There’s new blessings to celebrate this year too. The family are prepared for the birth of their “miracle child” and their youngest daughter, Selina, marks her second Christmas with the family—and that’s just the beginning of the good news.
“God is great! God is good! Danny and I are so blessed,” Leila said.
“There are three pregnancies happening over the Christmas period and I’m so excited!
“My sister Elissa has just had a baby girl and named her Sienna. My brother, Eddie’s wife, Layal is also expecting a girl. And I’m expecting.”
“Leila and I are finding great strength in these three coming miracles,” said Danny.
“Every day is a gift from above.”
It’s important to celebrate every moment of joy, Leila added, “because life can change in the blink of an eye.”
In 2020, that truth revealed itself in tragic fashion when three of their children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight, entered heaven after being killed by a drunk driver.
But today, as The Catholic Weekly accompany them on a trip out to Dural to help them pick this year’s tree, their message is all about new life, forgiveness and remembering their three “angels.”
“They are more alive than us. They are with Jesus and it’s our aim to be with him,’ said Leila.
“And then we come home, and we have our family over and everyone comes here for a nice celebration together.
“On Christmas Day, Santa drops off a present from heaven, from Antony, Angelina and Sienna to all the family. It’s good to keep them alive in a positive way.
“Every day they remind me that they didn’t die in vain. They left us the message of forgiveness.”
As they prepare their home for the festivities ahead, Leila and Danny know Antony, Angelina and Sienna will be right there at the table.
“This is a special Christmas. There’s new life, new beginnings, and that’s the beauty about serving our God,” Danny said.
“They have given me a lot of signs that they are with us every step of the way. I feel their presence every day.”
“And this Christmas, even more so,” Leila said.