Papa and I were heading home from the auto parts store, as I stared out the window of the car. The radio spoke of a blizzard up north, which had crippled an entire community. This seemed unusual to me, since I lived in Florida where it never snowed. The houses we passed seemed to have something that we didn’t. However, my grandfather didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he thought of it as another day, where one must work to earn a dollar or two just to survive.
I felt confused by the lack of Christmas spirit in my home. Nevertheless, I knew that my family didn’t make a big fuss over the holidays, since I was a young girl. Yet, it began bothering me that no one spent time setting up a Christmas tree or adding decorations to it. So, as we pulled in the driveway, the house seemed cold and dreary. However, I noticed a nativity in the neighbor’s yard, which seemed comforting in a strange sort of way.
I smiled at grandma, as we passed through the kitchen and headed towards the backdoor. In the backyard, I found my two brothers playing on grandpa’s rusty old yellow lawn mower. It had been broken down for years, yet they were pretending to race. I always knew that my grandfather was a man of a few words, except when he was mad. However, he gave his heart to anyone that needed help and I liked that about him.
After, making it to the garage, we began working on the old red race car. I noticed that our neighbors were greeting their family members as they arrived. Suddenly, I began hoping my own family would start celebrating the holidays, since I was 13. Additionally, I wondered why my grandma didn’t invite the rest of the family to visit over Christmas. Finally, I decided to ask my granddad, but I was a little nervous to ask at first.
“Why don’t we Celebrate Christmas?” I asked nervously.
He answered, “It’s just another day Christy! You’ll figure that out when you get older. I couldn’t afford the decorations and presents.”
“Would you celebrate…if you could?”
“I am not sure, because I never have celebrated the holidays. My parents weren’t unable to afford decorations and presents. ”
I could see the sadness rising in his eyes, which made me feel bad for bringing up the subject. Nevertheless, I got quiet and began thinking of what other families had that we were lacking. Suddenly, I felt even worse that he had never experienced Christmas, not even as a young boy. For years, he was forced to watch others celebrate the holidays, as he worked hard to help his family survive.
On Christmas Eve, I began wondering what life would be like if my family did celebrate the holidays. My brothers watched, ”
Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, while I searched through my Bible for the story about baby Jesus. I knew it would be an inspiring story to read to my grandpa, because baby Jesus’ was poor too. However, I couldn’t find it and I fell asleep sitting in grandma’s recliner.
Early the next morning, I woke before anyone else and began making a small Christmas tree from an old one I found. After hanging the different ornaments on the tree, I taped a banner and notes on the wall behind the tree. In addition, I placed my dolls next to the tree and taped the different colored ornaments to the wall also. Suddenly, I saw grandma’s camera and I snapped a picture of my Christmas surprise.
I made my way to the kitchen, where I found some candy canes, chocolate bars, and mixed nuts to fill the decorated socks I borrowed to make a stockings. Immediately, I began feeling excited, so I ran to my room and began looking for presents that I could wrap for everyone. Soon, I heard my grandfather stirring in his bed, so I found items to wrap. I found many different things lying around my room and I wrapped them in old newspaper.
For my little brother I found a little a red and white kazoo. I also found a toy sword that I gave to my little brother. In addition, I wrapped a toy roller coaster and Kermit the Frog dressed in a Santa’s suit, for twin brother. I kept digging through my room, until I found more presents to wrap and give to the rest of my family. However, there was one thing that I forgot, so I tip-toed to the kitchen and called my uncle to join us for our first Christmas dinner together.
Thankfully, my uncle agreed to visit and bring his family, in order to help me surprise the family. I decided to finish decorating the house with my homemade decorations and written pages. However, I decided to stop and look for the story about baby Jesus one again.
In about an hour, I could hear everyone waking up with excitement and instantly I became nervous. As grandfather stood staring at what I had done to the living room. I saw a smile consumed his face, so I handed him two presents. He began opening the gifts I gave him with a sense of excitement and surprise. This made me feel, like I was able to give my grandpa something, which he had never experienced before.
“Merry Christmas, Papa!” I said with excitement.
“You shouldn’t have done this.”He replied.
“I wanted too!”
Later on that morning, my uncle surprised my family with a gingerbread house and some eggnog to share. After dinner, my grandmother told me where to find the story of baby Jesus in the bible. I read it aloud to my family, just before bed. As, I headed to bed, I noticed my grandparents were kissing under the mistletoe that my aunt brought with her. As I laid down that night, I realized that this homemade Christmas was more special to me, than any I could have ever dreamed of.