She strains to listen to the silence over the sound of her heartbeat in her ears. No coffeepot percolating, she'd beat the timer again. Sweet.
"Hey," she whispers into the layers of blankets, "it's time,"
She doesn't want to know what the muffled words were - instead she pokes the blankets, "It's Christmas," she whispers, the excitement raising her voice a level. "Go wake them up."
"I did it last year, it's your turn," comes the reply.
"You do it better than I do and you know if I do it wrong Santa will take the presents back."
"Okay," comes the reply, punctuated by the blankets being thrown back, "you have to do it next year."
And off my little sister goes to wake up my parents on Christmas morning; after 39 years I can still get her to do it.
I'm Diane Barr and my book Out of the Shade - a naughty but nice urban fantasy - will be released in July 2011.
My earliest holiday memories include; food - traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings plus a lot of Polish dishes and mountains of homemade cookies of every shape and color.
Family, friends, laughter (spiked eggnog, grasshoppers and wine might of had something to do with this, LOL), loud cheers (and swearing) while watching the Chicago Bears on TV. Christmas Eve we'd take several cars to Michigan Avenue ("The Magnificent Mile") and look at all the Christmas lights and animated decorations in the store windows . It's a breathtaking and unforgettable experience and after my family moved to Wyoming, my dad would take us to look at the "country" style; where complete farmhouses and their surrounding trees and fences are lighted.
Christmas morning was/is a methodical process - my little sis wakes up the parents and starts the coffee pot while I plug in the tree and begin separating the presents and stacking them in our pre-selected places. We open presents from youngest to oldest and pose with each present (usually the ones we receive from the East Coast relatives).
We always have a battle over the Egg Nog pie that my mom makes - it is to die for and I'll gladly share the recipe if you're interested. I usually burn up an electrical appliance (either the hand mixer or the blender) I think all the pictures have been destroyed from the time I was mixing Grasshoppers (a shot of crème de menthe, a shot crème de cacao, a handful of ice and about 4 to 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream) in the blender and stuck a metal spoon in to loosen things up. Well, the frozen items, plus the metal spoon froze together and stopped the blender; separating the pitcher and the washer in the bottoms. Green grasshopper went all over the counter and I did the first that came to mind. Yep mouth to counter and slurp up/save the drink. My mom and sister grabbed glasses and tried to direct the flow of liquid into them but ended up doing the same as me. LOL.
When my kids were young my mom started one of my most favorite things - Line - up for Reddi-Whip in the mouth - yes, she'd spray Reddi-Whip into our mouths and based on how many Grasshoppers or other beverages were consumed is how accurate she would be with getting it in our mouths. Believe me, the smell of Reddi-Whip takes a while to leave your nostrils.
Though we aren't the most conventional with our traditions, they are so much fun and I look forward to the time I get to spend with my extended family; where love and laughter complete our blessed holiday seasons.
Out of the Shade