Thursday, December 15, 2011
Sharing the Joy: 2011 Virtual Advent Tour
Welcome to my stop on the 2011 Virtual Advent Tour. For my stop this year, I decided to write an original Christmas short story. I hope you enjoy it.
by Michelle Stockard Miller
Mary looked around at the boxes of books piled around the room. Her thoughts shifted to the storage facility down the street where all of her Christmas decorations were stored. Sighing, she got up and began taking books from the boxes and placing them on the shelves.
"I can't believe I don't have one Christmas decoration up, not even the tree" she thought.
Mary came from a long line of Christmas fanatics. It was not unusual for her to have all the Christmas decor up before Thanksgiving and then the trees (yes, she decorates two Christmas trees) and outside lights by Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately this had not been the case for the past three years. It always seemed like something got in the way. Her family was not any help either. Sure they loved having everything decorated, but they didn't want to put forward the effort of the decorating itself. And having moved the first week in December, there was a lot more work to do than just the fun of decorating.
"Okay, Mary, stop dwelling on the negative," she said out loud. "There's still plenty of time and as long as everything is decorated before Christmas, it will be fine."
Her teenage sons came running in the room.
"Mom, we need some cookies for the holiday party at school tomorrow." they said in unison.
"Jack, can't you see that I'm busy at the moment. Do you think you could have let me know sooner than the day before? I'm afraid we will just have to buy some at the store."
"Aw, Mom! Store bought cookies? Man, that's a bummer!"
"Well, I'm sorry boys. I have to be informed sooner than the day before if you want homemade cookies. Besides, don't you think that I think it's a bummer we don't have the tree up or anything decorated yet? No one seems to care too much about that." With that said, she walked out of the room, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
The boys looked at each other in dismay. "I didn't mean to upset her." Jack said.
"Yeah, we should know what Christmas means to her." Mark said.
Mark picked up a photo album and began thumbing through the pages. The photographs were of Christmases past. The house was always beautifully decorated for the season and the photos showed happy Christmas celebrations. Mark frowned when he thought of how upset his mom had just been.
"Jack, mom has to work today, doesn't she?" Mark said.
"Yeah, I think she is getting ready to leave in a few." Jack said.
"Good, because I have an idea. We need to call dad at work to see if he can get off early. He needs to pick up the Christmas decorations at the storage place and buy a tree."
"Okay, I'll call him right now. I think I know exactly what you have up your sleeve!" Jack smiled.
Mary came into the room carrying her purse and coat. "I'm headed to work. It's bound to be busy at the store with only a week until Christmas. I'll stop on the way home and pick up the cookies."
"Thanks, Mom. Store bought cookies will be fine," Mark said. "I'm sorry we reacted the way we did. I know you're busy."
"I'll see you later. You'll have to order pizza for supper."
Mary walked out the door. As soon as she was gone, Mark sprang into action. He began unpacking the books and shelving them furiously.
"Dad was a little puzzled when I called, but once I explained, he was on board. He's going to take care of everything." Jack said, coming back into the room.
"Good. Now help me get the rest of these boxes unpacked. We have to be ready when dad gets here."
They worked quickly and had every box unpacked and every book shelved within an hour. Mark vacuumed and Jack took care of the dusting. When their dad got home, loaded with boxes, the house was looking neat and orderly.
"Wow, you guys are really serious about this. It looks great. Now run out to the car and get the tree and the rest of the boxes." said Dan.
The boys came in from the car loaded with boxes. Mark was gingerly carrying an 8 foot tree. The three of them got to work immediately, putting out decorations and trimming the tree. Dan got the outside lights up and the wreath on the door. They rabble roused and laughed while Nat King Cole played in the background. The house was looking very festive indeed.
Mary drove home from work marveling at all the wonderful displays of lights at other peoples' homes. The lighted Christmas trees looked beautiful in all the windows. The Christmas music on the radio was making her get into the spirit. She felt ready to tackle getting everything done once and for all, help or not. It was Christmas after all. The time for optimism and hope. As she pulled in the driveway, she gasped in surprise. The house was decorated like the other homes, with beautiful lights everywhere, on the house, trees, and bushes. The wreath she had made years before was in its place of honor on the front door. She jumped out of the car and rushed inside. What awaited her was even more wondrous than what was outside. The tree was trimmed and standing majestically in front of the bay window. The decorations were placed here and there around the room. The Christmas village was arranged on the mantle. It was breathtaking.
Dan, Mark, and Jack were standing off to the side, beaming with pride.
"Merry Christmas, Mom!" said the boys.
"Merry Christmas, honey." said Dan.
"We know how much Christmas means to you and how busy you are. This is our Christmas gift to you." Mark said.
As Mary hugged them and thanked them for all they had done, she had a thought in the back of her head.
"Never lose hope during Christmas. The spirit of the season always seems to bring about happiness, no matter how small or large is the method of delivery."
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!