My mother’s smell is the last thing I embrace as I take my excited but weary self off to bed. She’s been in the kitchen all night preparing food for the next day. My home is nothing but Christmas perfection! My mother reigns supreme at creating ambiance. The tree is stunning and the presents at its base come out at least four feet because of our large family of nine persons. Christmas carols play continuously on the stereo. Milk and cookies have been left out for Santa on the dining table. I’ve just finished watching “Scrooge” on the TV with my older brothers, and although it scares me so, I love it annually. I make my way through the kitchen and into the family room, which is dimly lit to show the tree and lights around the windows. The outside cold is unfelt by me in my cozy home of family memories. I walk past the candy tree – a fantastic favorite each year. Mom chooses just the right branch; sets it into a small pot of soil; sprays it white with paint or artificial snow spray and we get the delight of decorating it with colorful wrapped candies and ribbons.
The coffee table has been covered with red velvet. A huge tray of fruits and nuts looking like a painting from Rembrandt with two pillar candles on either side which light the pages of the bible sitting open to the part that tells of the Virgin Birth.
The organ top is always the place for the nativity scene, but my mother does not just lay our figurines. She creates an entire village on mountains and hills of snow (white tissue). Lit little homes and the Star of Bethlehem are prominently shining mounted from the wall above. Our stockings are placed on the floor by the tree.
It’s after midnight. I think of “him” as I slip under the heavy quilt and lay my head on my Christmas Dream Pillow – a special pillow slip made with Christmassy motifs for each of us to dream on. As I fall into my sleep I can almost hear those sleigh bells jingling.
The cold wind blows outside, but I am snug in my bed, next to my warm little sister. Then I think about “Him” and say my prayers, and drift off to sleep feeling truly blessed...
(Based on my childhood memories growing up in the prairie province of Alberta, Canada)