It made her laugh to see the television commercials where the children eagerly wake up their parents on Christmas morning. It was usually the other way around in her house, and this year was no exception. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, but she couldn’t sleep. “It’s Christmas,” whispered in her head; how could they sleep so soundly?
She put on her robe and tiptoed down the stairs at 5 AM. She plugged in the tree lights, and stood still for a moment, hugging the Christmas magic to herself. It took her breath away to see the presents mounded under the Christmas tree, proof that Santa had already been and gone. Somehow, she never seemed to catch him filling the stockings, no matter how early she came downstairs.
She had put the teakettle on the stove when her mother padded into the kitchen. It was always this way, she and her mother, drinking tea together on Christmas morning. It was a ritual, one she wouldn’t give up for anything. She looked forward to spending this time with her mother all year. It’s not that they didn’t spend time together at other times of the year, it’s just that this was special time, Christmas time.
She and her mother would wait until they couldn’t stand it another minute, and then they would wake up the rest of the family. The kids would bound down the stairs the minute they were properly awake. The dads would come down, bleary-eyed but happy. The last one down was always her sister, pushing at her bed-mussed hair and grumbling under her breath like a humbug.
Christmas was special, a day given to her as a gift. She treasured every moment of it, pulling it into her so that she would always have the memories to keep her company. She loved her family – each and every one precious to her – and she loved Christmas.