NOËL

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8
Submitted Date 12/09/2018
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Mommy said yes. Tonight, I am sleeping in the living room: I get to wait up for Santa Claus!

Daddy built a big fire to keep me warm during the night, which scared me a bit. I’ve done enough naughty things this year… If, on top of it all, Santa catches fire coming down our chimney, it’s going to be coal in my stocking for sure. Daddy laughed, and told me not to worry, that Santa is incombus… that Santa doesn’t burn.

I’m wearing my prettiest nightgown: the long white one with lace, same as Clara’s in the Nutcracker, and I brushed my hair a hundred times to make it shiny.

On the sofa, Mommy arranged a bed for me. I lie down, and she wraps me up in the big duvet she brought back from Opa’s in Germany. It’s supposed to be filled with feathers, but I pinch, and I don’t feel them. Mommy explains that it’s because they use fuzzy ducks. Mommy’s funny, especially when she tries to explain things in English.

They kiss me, tell me to do try and sleep a little, and turn off the lamps.

It doesn’t matter; it’s not dark. The fire is dancing: red, orange, yellow flames flare around its blue heart. The big windows let in the silver light of the moon. Outside, the whirlwind of fluffy snowflakes brightens up the night like a gazillion Tinkerbells.

But none of that compares to the Tree, full of multi-colored itty-bitty lights. The tinsel glitters, and the mirror ornaments, twinkling with the fire, throw moving glints on the walls. The angel Gabriel, surrounded by his golden halo, watches over me from the top of the Tree. At its foot, bathed in the glow of the star hanging over the small barn, Baby Jesus is sleeping quietly in his crib.

Snuggled inside the duvet, I curl up in the depths of the sofa. It’s so soft, like floating in whipped cream. The fire sings me a lullaby: snap, psht, pop, tic, crackle, fizz… Daddy put a branch of the Christmas tree in the fire: it smells… Christmassy.

I take my arms out of the cloud of warmth and make sure the gift I wrapped for Santa is still on top of the covers. It’s a box of After-Eights, Daddy’s favorite chocolates. I hope Santa will like them too. Daddy promised he would, and Daddy is always right…

 

Dzing! A ball has fallen! I open my eyes. They’re all sticky. I rub¾

Oh! There! In front of me. A big man, dressed in red, with an enormous bag hanging from his shoulder is kneeling under the Tree.

Santa?

Santa turns and kisses me on the forehead. I hold out the gift; he gives me another kiss. His beard tickles.

“Sleep little angel, sleep.”

His voice is soft, like Daddy’s.

 

The sun is hot on my eyelids. I yawn. I stretch. I… It’s Christmas!

I push the duvet away, jump out of the sofa. It wasn’t a dream, Santa was here; there are gifts everywhere! It’s as if a village of brightly wrapped boxes has sprouted under the Tree. There are big ones, little ones, flat ones, bulky ones… It’s a rainbow of silky ribbons, glossy paper and bouncy bows. Over the cold fireplace my stocking looks like it’s about to explode. And there, leaning against the sofa: a giant teddy bear, wearing a garland like a scarf around his neck, is smiling at me.

I wish I could start unwrapping the presents now, but I can’t. I promised I would wait. This year, I have to share the bounty with my baby sister.

I sit down on the ground beside the teddy bear, and cross my legs under me to keep my feet warm. The air still smells of Christmas, but it’s cold and crisp, tickling my nose. I squeeze the bear to my face, so soft. I guess I can wait a little before waking Mommy and Daddy.

Last night, I got to see Santa Claus!

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