Thursday fragments 8: Christmas

When Christmas Eve came I could hardly get to sleep. Mum sent me to bed early but I just lay there trying to hear the sound of Santa’s sleigh on the roof. Every now and then I would sneak out to the lounge room to see if Santa had been yet. ‘Molly! Get back in bed!’ Mum would yell at me.

But being in bed didn’t help. I felt like running around or jumping up and down before I burst. How could anyone sleep when they knew Santa was meant to be coming? After a while, I thought it sounded quieter in the lounge room so I tried to sneak out again, but as soon as my feet touched the floor, Mum was in the doorway. ‘Molly, are you still awake? You need to go to sleep, sweetheart.’

‘I can’t sleep, Mum. I’ve tried really hard, but I just can’t.’

‘All right then, why don’t you come out and lay on the lounge for a bit,’ said Mum.

I hopped out of bed with my pillow and snuggled up on the lounge next to Mum, listening to the television. I don’t know what was on. It was just some boring grownups movie with a man in a grey coat walking in the rain. Every now and then he would start singing something about silver bells.

The next thing I knew I was lying in bed and could see the first rays of morning sun light coming through the window. I lay there for a moment just staring out the window, trying to remember something important, when suddenly I realised what it was and I looked at the end of my bed to see a pillow case full of presents. I jumped up and quickly opened my Santa sack to find out what was inside. First there was a book; I love books but I put it aside to look at later. I reached in again and pulled out a doll in a pretty dress. I bent her legs at the waist and sat her down next to the book. Next was something large and soft, and as I pulled out a princess dress I squealed in delight. ‘Santa did make me a princess!’ I yelled excitedly. The last thing in the sack was a princess crown which I quickly put on my head and bounced up and down on the bed with delight.

I jumped out of bed to see if anyone else was awake yet, but the house was still and quiet so I went back to my bedroom to sit on my bed and look at the book, pretending to read a story to my new doll. ‘Once there was a princess,’ I said, ‘She was the prettiest girl in the whole kingdom with beautiful eyes, but a nasty witch had locked her in a tower.’

Eventually everyone else woke up and the house was soon filled with Christmas carols and the smell of bacon and eggs cooking on the barbecue. I went and sat in the lounge room and looked at the mountain of presents under the Christmas tree, trying to guess which ones were mine and what special surprises were waiting for me inside the colourful wrapping paper that rustled excitingly when I touched it.

While everyone else was having breakfast in the kitchen, I played with my new doll under the Christmas tree. There was a scent of pine needles in the air and when I touched the tree the needles were spiky and a little bit sticky. It made my fingers smell. I showed my doll the sparkly tinsel and pretty fairies and other decorations on the tree while the stereo sang about having a white Christmas.

I lay down on the floor and closed my eyes as I wondered what a white Christmas would look like. There would be a castle covered in snow, high on a mountaintop. I am a tiny thing wearing my princess dress and standing at the bottom of the biggest Christmas tree in the world. My curly red hair is poking out from under my princess tiara as the lights on the Christmas tree sparkle in my eyes and make the decorations shimmer. There are angels and fairies playing amongst the green, red and golden tinsel, laughing and squealing like young children and I want to climb up there so that I can play with them. There are so many presents under the tree that they block my view and I start to climb on top so I can see further and reach the fairy children. I held my new doll tightly in my arms. ‘Molly,’ she called to me. ‘Molly, wake up. It’s time for Christmas.’

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