Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Perfect Christmas

We stayed up late, last night, filling the kids' stockings, putting the Santa gifts under the tree, and cuddling by the fire, sipping eggnog.  As we were heading toward bed, he grabbed my hand and stole a kiss under the mistletoe.

I wake up in his arms, the electric blanket keeping my feet toasty warm.  Throwing on my fluffy robe, I rush to the kitchen (turning the thermostat on as I went), turn on the oven, and stick the casserole I had made the night before into the oven.  Rushing back to bed, we whisper and cuddle while waiting for the children to wake up.

I hear the little one open her brother's door and climb onto his bed to wake him.  In our home, Santa leaves the stockings in front of their doors.  They can get into their stockings while they wait for us to get up.  We put satsuma oranges, granola bars, and nuts into the stockings to keep them from starving away to nothingness before we get up.

When we can hear the sugar rush is starting to hit (we're not heartless - we also include candy in their stockings) we get up so they can put that energy into ripping into their presents.  While I go into my son's room to say good morning, my husband goes downstairs to plug the Christmas lights in so the kids will come down to a magical morning.  I know he is also lighting a fire because he knows how much I enjoy sitting beside a glowing fireplace.

"You guys coming?" his yell comes upstairs to us.  The kids look at each other, sheer excitement in their eyes.  They rush off the bed, their early morning treasures spilled all over the bed beside the stockings, and speed toward their father.  As I reach the top of the stairs, they are hitting the landing.  There stands their father, video camera in hand, recording all of the Christmas excitement for me.  By the time I was on the main floor, they are kneeling in front of the tree, finding which presents belong to them.

I sit on the loveseat beside the man of my dreams and he hands me a cup of steaming cider that was cooking in the crockpot through the night.  We watch the kids, enjoying the "ooh"s and "aah"s, accepting the hugs they dole out when their Christmas wishes were coming true.  My son brings us the gifts which have our names on them.  My husband enjoys the gifts I had purchased for him.  When I open the one that was from "Santa" to me, it was more beautiful than I had wished for.  He helps me with the clasp and I admire it as it sparkled against my skin.  The mouth-watering smell of eggs, cheese, and bacon lets us know that breakfast is ready.

After breakfast, as we prepare for the day, I put some candied pecans in the oven so the warm smell of cinnamon fills the house.  We all get into our Christmas outfits, collect all of the gifts for our families, and pack up the food we had prepared and set out over the river and through the woods.  The smell of ham and stuffing washes over us when we enter the warm and cozy home.  The children take the gifts to the beautifully decorated tree and place them among the other shiny, sparkly wrapped presents while I take the food to the kitchen and share hugs with all gathered there.

Dinner is delicious, which is to be expected with my family full of talented chefs.  Yes, I do eat too much, but that's allowed once a year, right?  It is all just too good to refuse.  After dinner, we all sit around and open presents, everyone enjoying what they received.  When the shredded paper is all cleaned up, some of us sit around the table playing games while others sit by the fire to visit.

The children fall asleep in the car on the way home and the snow starts to fall just as we pull into the garage.  We carry the children upstairs and put them into bed, kissing them goodnight.  After shutting their doors, he takes me into his arms and kisses me.  "Merry Christmas," he whispers.

It really was.

Or, at least, that's how a single lady who is alone on Christmas imagines it.

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