Gibbs had never been one for celebrating Christmas, not since his mother had passed away; he sulked through his teenage years, ignoring parties and Christmas cards, scowling anytime his Dad had suggested doing anything special for the holidays.
Shannon and Kelly had changed that, but when they died, he went back to begrudgingly letting everyone else celebrate the season in peace and trying not to snarl too much when someone did their celebrating too close to him.
NCIS had started to change him too, the last few years, they'd become not only his team, but a sort of family. Not normal to be sure, but family, so when Abby suggested they all get together for the holiday, despite his best intentions, he knew he was going to give in and say yes. Ducky was the only one who declined the invite for dinner, but he'd promised to call around in the evening after he and his mother had finished their own celebrations.
Gibbs was almost pleased with himself, when he managed, with minimum fuss and irritability to pick up presents for his team, although he drew the line at Christmas cards. He reasoned, Ziva didn't even celebrate Christmas and he wasn't going looking for Hanukkah cards, besides they were all unnecessarily sentimental.
Abby had suggested Gibbs house, because it was in fact a *house* and everyone else lived in an apartment and invited herself around on Christmas Eve to decorate. Gibbs eyed the three boxes she'd dragged in from her car and the tree that had been delivered the day before and went to hide in the basement.
"Gibbs... hey Gibbs, get up here!" Abby called a little after midnight.
Gibbs set down his sander and reluctantly followed the voice up stairs into a room that looked like it belonged in someone else's house.
Abby had outdone herself, there were colourful throws over the couch and chairs, with matching cushions, the tree sparkled with lights and tinsel and other assorted decorations were placed around the room, candles and springs of holly and Gibbs caught mistletoe hanging in the door ways.
"You're clearing all this up after we're done," he said, mostly to be gruff, because it was expected.
"So you like it?" Abby asked, unfazed.
"It looks very... festive," Gibbs said.
"Is it too much? I can tone it down..." Abby said, a soft frown marring her features.
"No," Gibbs said quickly. "It's nice Abby, very nice."
Abby grinned and threw herself into his arms, giving him a tight squeeze and leaning up to give him a quick peck on the lips. "Mistletoe," she announced at his perplexed look. "I'm going to start the cookies and put the turkey in the oven, Ziva, Tony and McGee are bringing some sweet stuff and snackables, but the main dinner is up too us, well me..."
"I can cook you know," Gibbs said.
"I know," Abby rolled her eyes. "But I figured we were already imposing enough hijacking your house. I can do the dinner, McGee will help me with a lot of it tomorrow anyway, I just need to do the turkey and my grandma's famous gingerbread cookies, cause I can't give anyone else the recipe, she'd turn in her grave."
Gibbs shook his head, but couldn't repress a smile, squeezing Abby tight, where she still stood in the circle of his arms and pressing a gentle kiss into her hair. "Go on then, go wreck havoc on my kitchen... but I expect first taste of those cookies."
"I'll even let you lick the bowl," Abby promised with a grin, bounding off towards the kitchen, her dark pigtails swinging freely.
Gibbs chuckled to himself as he headed back down to the basement. Maybe he was getting soft in his old age, but the mayhem was almost worth it just to see Abby smile like that.