Friday, April 22, 2011

The Biggest Christmas Ever: Chapter 1 (draft 1)

You might want to read the Prologue before you read what is below.

Chapter 1
In which a decision is made.

 All Spring and into the Summer Claudia had been reading Christmas books.  Max and Leslie liked to had teased her about how she had become a library nerd, bringing home arm loads of books that hadn't been checked out by anyone in years and years, but she just went into her hiding place in the rafters of the garage and read.  Then one evening in the middle of July, at the dinner table Claudia, trying hard to sound casaul and not as nervous as she really was,said  "Hey, this year let's have a more Traditional Christmas."

“A more traditional Christmas?”, their mother asked with her eyebrows raised?

“Yeah, with caroling and a real Christmas dinner, and 12 days, and church…

“A real Christmas dinner?”, querried Ben, who’s favorite food was fried chicken.

“12 Days!” Interjected Dad who hated taking time off from work.

“Church?” questioned Mom who always made fun of people who went to church.

“Um…yeah", Claudia answered hesitantly.  "I think it would be good to do it at least once in our life – to have a full Advent and Christmas experience." 

Dad said, “No, Claudia, that won’t work.  If we do a traditional Christmas your Uncle Raul and Aunt Piper can’t be with us because they always go to his parent’s house for December 25.”

Claudia took a deep breath.  She had never argued with her father before, but this was so important to her that she decided to press on. “But that’s okay, Dad, because if we do Christmas like this there are lots and lots of days to get together with people.  We’ll probably see Uncle Raul and Aunt Piper more this year because we do it the traditional way than if we do it the way we always do.”

“And that’s a good thing?” Said Ben sarcastically.

“Yes, it is,” said said Mom, who couldn't stand her children being sarcastic.

Up to this point Max had sat silently, eating his spaghetti listening to Claudia talk about Christmas.  He hadn’t thought about Christmas in months, and he wasn’t too excited about talking about it in the middle of summer.  After dinner there would be two more hours of light and he wanted to go play basketball with his friends.  But as they kept talking he began to get more excited about the prospect of a big huge Christmas that lasted for twelve days.  And he said, “I think we should do it.  It will be like the Christmases we see on TV or in books. And besides, I like singing.  And Bill from school said he and his family went caroling and people gave them hot chocolate and apple cider.”

“We are not caroling,” said Ben who hated being seen in public with anyone from his family.

Claudia was thrilled by Max’s support and began to think Mom and Dad might go for it.  But then Mom said, “What do you think, Honey?” and Claudia knew it was all but settled.  She only ever asked that question when she wanted Dad to do something she wanted.

“I think it will be expensive and time consuming”, Said Dad, resigned to the idea. “And besides that, how are we going to do Christmas for Twelve Days, when all the presents are opened on one morning.

Claudia, jupmped up and ran around the table to hug her Dad, “You’ll see.  There will be so much to do you’ll think 52 days isn’t enough to hold it all!”

Leslie,  Max’s twin sister, who had been listening but was too hungry after Softball practice to interrupt eating to talk, was shocked by that, “Fifty-two days?  I thought we were talking about twelve!”

Max answered, “I think the Advent thing she mentioned is before the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Is that right?”

“That’s Right!, answered Claudia excitedly. “You’ll see, doing it the old fashioned way will be amazing fun! First there are forty days of Advent, then 12 days of Christmas.” 

“Why don’t we just do the Christmas part this year and leave off the Advent part?  You know, just see how it goes this year, and if we like it we can add Advent next year.  Just ease into it”, Ben suggested reasonably.

“That makes sense to me”, Max agreed.

“We could do that, but part of Advent is getting ready for Christmas.  And if we wait till next year, Ben will be in college.  He won’t even be here.  I really really want all of us to do this together, just one time.  Please”, Claudia begged her Dad.

Dad was silent for a minute.  Took the last bight of his last meatball, swallowed it and said, “Okay.  All 52 days.  We’ll do it.  Just this one time.”

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