Friday, December 12, 2008

The Night Before Xmas

This is chapter one of a simple Christmas story about 3 very secular children who learn what Christmas really is. I will be adding a new chapter every couple of days (a total of 8). Hope you enjoy it.

What's Xmas All About?

“Mom! Mom!” Stevie’s piercing voice burst into the living room a second before he did. He looked around to see if his parents had made it home yet, but the only person there was his teenage sister Lori, who was on the couch reading a magazine. Becky, holding a partially unwrapped Christmas present, followed him in, looking flustered and guilty.

“They’re not home yet, dummy,” she snapped at her 9-year-old brother, her elder by one year.

He stopped, pointed at her accusingly and said, “You know mom said not to mess with our presents.”

“I can wrap it up again.”

Crossing his arms, Stevie said, “I’m gonna tell mom.”

“If you do, I’ll slug you,” she threatened, shaking her fist at him.

His smile infuriated her. “I’m not scared of a little girl.”

“Why don’t you both be quiet. I am sick of hearing you fight. If you don’t stop, I’m gonna send you to bed.” Lori, snapped. Her disdain for her younger siblings was written clearly on her face.

Becky turned her wrath toward her sister. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Mom and dad will be home soon. We’ll see what they say.” She went back to her magazine.

Stevie was in no mood to let things go. He was pleased to have gotten under his sister’s skin, and he felt compelled to make the most of the opportunity. “Becky’s not going to get any presents this year.”

Becky’s head whipped from her sister to her brother, a horrified look in her eyes. “Yes I am.”

“No you’re not. Mrs. Higginbotham said that if you’re bad, Santa won’t bring you anything, and you’ve been real bad all year.”

“That’s not true. I haven’t been bad. Santa will bring me presents.” There a note of panic in her voice.

Smugly, Stevie retorted, “No, he won’t. He doesn’t like you. He told me.” He sat down in the recliner feeling pleased with himself.

That was more than little Becky could handle. She appealed to her sister’s authority which she had so recently been challenging. “Lori, tell Stevie to stop telling lies.”

Lori shook her head in disgust. “Why don’t both of you just stop. There is no such thing as Santa Claus anyway.”

Stevie’s smugness was gone and he shot up from the chair. “You shouldn’t say that. Santa might hear you. Then you won’t get anything for Christmas.”

“I’m so scared,” said Lori, rolling her eyes. “Santa is just a fable for little brats like you.”

“No way,” he shot back. “Santa is what Christmas is all about. He goes around on Christmas Eve and gives presents to all the good boys and girls. Isn’t that right, Becky?” Now, they were allies.

“That’s right,” she agreed.

Bursting with confidence, he said, “We saw it on TV.”

Lori was wondering how she could swim in the same gene pool with two such idiots. “There is no such things as Santa,” she reiterated.

Stevie was starting to lose confidence. “If there’s no such thing as Santa Claus, then what’s Christmas all about? “ His older sister was removing all the magic from the Holiday season.

“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “I think it used to have something to do with religion a lot time ago. Now, its just a break from school and a chance to get some nice presents.” Lori saw the confusion on their faces and wondered if she had gone too far. But there was no sense in letting her brother and sister be taken in by silly myths.

“Santa brings the presents.” Becky was holding on to what she had always known, the truth that had been the foundation of all her Christmas celebrations to date.

Lori couldn’t back down now. “Where do you think Mom and Dad are right now? They are out shopping for more presents. That's why I'm stuck here babysitting you two instead of being at Ryan's party. Mom and Dad are Santa Claus.”

“Is that true?” Stevie asked.

“Of course it is.”

Stevie asked his question a second time. “Then what is Christmas all about?”

“Yeah, Lori, why do we celebrate Christmas if Santa’s not real?”

Lori let her cynicism overflow. “Who knows? Just open your presents and don’t ask stupid

They heard a noise outside. Becky climbed onto the back of the couch and looked out the window. Lori crossed the room and looked over her shoulder. “It sounds like singing. Oh, its just some of the neighbors out caroling.”

“Are they going to stop here?”

“Yes, Becky. I think so.”

“Do we have to give them money?” asked Stevie.

Lori withered him with a stare and went to the door. “No, shut up. Here they come.”

The three children stood at the door and listened as their neighbors sang such Christmas classics as “Jingle Bells”, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. The carolers then waved and sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

For a few moments, the children watched them walk away, then they returned to their places and sat down quietly.

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