Over the holidays, my little sister and I had a conversation where I tried to convince her to put our family into a story. She didn't think people would find our family believable and is in the middle of a few other stories, so she told me to go ahead and do it myself. I'm taking liberties here - as far as I know, Sam and Jacob have never flat-out stated that Mark is Sam's ONLY sibling, so I'm just making him Sam's twin, and substituting the two of them for my sister Kate and our brother Jack. Everybody else, besides Jacob of course, is who they are, although I've had to play with the ages a bit. And we'll go ahead and set this story in Season 4, because it's my favorite season, I liked Sam's hair best then, and we hadn't seen her house yet at that point, so I can make it look however I want.

Ch 1: Blame it on the tinsel

"Oh for cryin' out LOUD!" Colonel Jack O'Neill moaned as he led his team into the commissary. The entire room looked, in his opinion, like Santa's reindeer had eaten the entire contents of a Hallmark store and then been violently ill. There was a big artificial tree in one corner, absolutely covered in decorations. Every table sported a red or green tablecloth and had a poinsettia centerpiece. From the lights, various tinsel and streamers were hung, there were holly and fairy lights everywhere, and the food staff all sported Santa hats, although most of them didn't look too happy about it.

"Those look like a fire hazard," Carter, to Jack's right, commented. He glanced at her and followed her eyes to the shiny stuff hanging from the light fixtures. He nodded and proceeded to the end of the food line.

They collected their meals in silence and wove through the tables to their favorite one, all sitting down simultaneously. "I have stated this previously, but I must reiterate. Your world is a strange place," Teal'c said solemnly as he looked around at the decorations.

Carter flashed him a smile and reached for the pepper Jack had just been about to grab. Daniel immediately launched into a long-winded explanation of the evolution of Christmas traditions. Teal'c either listened politely or was meditating with his eyes open, Jack couldn't tell. Carter was definitely tuning him out, but the constant droning of Daniel's voice never got to her the way it did him.

Finally, he could take it no more. He let his fork clatter loudly to his tray and said, "SO, what's everyone doing for Christmas?"

"General Hammond has given me permission to use the four days he has given us off to visit my son R'yac."

"Good," Jack said approvingly.

Carter gave Teal'c a warm smile. "Say hi to him for us."

"I will, Major Carter. Thank you."

"What about you, Danny-boy?"

"I'm - actually going to be off-world too," he said, trying to sound casual but failing miserably.

"You are?" Jack asked pointedly when he failed to volunteer any more information.

"Yeah. I'm - taking Dr. Walker's place on SG9's mission so he can come home for Christmas. He's been away from his family for over three weeks, and he has two small children. Plus it will be really interesting." Jack knew Daniel wanted the subject dropped.

Carter squeezed Daniel's forearm and said, "We'll miss you."

He gave her his warmest smile, and Jack remembered they were the first family Daniel had ever really had since his parents had died.

Trying to lighten the mood and change the subject, he turned to Carter with a teasing glint in his eye and said, "All right, let's have it."

"Have what, sir?" she asked, taking a big bite of blue Jell-o. Jack was positive they only made that stuff for her. He had never seen anyone else eat it.

"The argument that starts, 'well, Colonel, if Daniel's going to be working over the holidays I should get to as well. There's a really important doohickey in my lab that needs my immediate attention or we're all doomed..."

Daniel stifled a laugh into a snort and shoved a big spoonful of something resembling mashed potatoes into his mouth.

Teal'c took a sip of water.

Carter shrugged and said, "Not this time, sir. Sorry to disappoint you."

"You have plans?" he asked, too quickly to squash the surprise in his voice.

He could tell she was restraining herself from rolling her eyes with a great difficulty. "Yes, sir, I have family coming."

"Your turn?" Daniel asked.

"Yup," she answered.

Jack looked back and forth between them. "Your turn for what?" he asked.

"To host Christmas. We rotate."

"You and Mark?"

Daniel snorted for some reason. Carter shot him a warning look. "Yes, sir. And my other brothers, and my sister."

"What? How many..."

"Major Carter is one of six children, O'Neill," Teal'c informed him. "She and her brother Mark are twins and therefore he was her closest sibling until he and her father had their fallout."

"Since when? How did I not know about all of this?" he demanded of all of them.

She shrugged. "You never asked, sir."

He watched the three of them continue eating in comfortable silence, and realized it was true. She fit in so perfectly with the rest of SG1, none of whom really had much family left, that it had never occurred to him she had a regular family as well.

"What about you, sir?" she asked politely, interrupting his thoughts.

"Me? Oh, I don't know. Hammond always invites me over for Christmas dinner, but I dunno. I usually don't go." He knew she'd read his eyes and drop it. Teal'c and Daniel would follow her lead and pretend they hadn't been paying attention. She did, then they did.

As they finished up their meal, he looked around at all of them fondly. He was going to miss each of them, he realized. They spent most of their lives together, and the thought of four days apart was unheard of. He smiled at their backs as he followed them out of the commissary.

At least he had people he cared about enough to miss. What? he thought defensively. He was allowed to be sentimental at Christmas - and he could always just blame it on all that damn tinsel.