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Writer discovers true meaning of the holidays

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Batteries not included

The Rogers family Christmas tree is decorated with meaningful ornaments.

The Rogers family Christmas tree is decorated with meaningful ornaments.

Zoee Rogers

The Rogers family Christmas tree is decorated with meaningful ornaments.

Zoee Rogers

Zoee Rogers

The Rogers family Christmas tree is decorated with meaningful ornaments.

Zoee Rogers, Writer/Photographer

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The date is December 20th. Stockings are hanging from the mantel, winter themed decorations are everywhere, and the Christmas tree is standing tall and proud with lights twinkling. Everyone is waiting for the special day.

December 20th, my family is getting ready to make the three-hour drive to our new house. My grandmother is making sure all the boxes are packed and labeled. My Dad and Pa are loading up the trailer and debating about furniture. My brother is searching for more packing tape and my mom has made a list and is checking it twice. Meanwhile, I am wandering through my empty, stripped-bare home. Everything that made the home ours is in boxes, and the heater is off to save money; I pull my jacket closer. After lying on the frozen floor of my old sanctuary, I hear footsteps. “Time to go!” my dad bellows, his voice echoing. We load up our caravan of two trucks with trailers, and a U-Haul, and get on the road.

December 22nd: relatives are coming in from the cold weather. There are smiles and old jokes being told for the fifth year in a row. Grandmothers are fussing over sleeping situations and grandpas are sneaking the kids cookies before dinner. The Christmas tree is standing tall and proud. Everyone is waiting for the special day.

December 22nd, I stand in the middle of my new room. Boxes are everywhere and it’s still cold. My mom is on the phone with the insurance company: “I don’t care if it’s three days away from Christmas. We don’t have a working heater and it’s the coldest month of the year! …..Fine, we will make do for today but I expect this problem to be dealt with soon..” Now it’s time for more cleaning and organizing. Mom wants the house set up before Christmas but everyone else just wants a good night’s sleep. “Zoee! We need your help getting this mattress in!” I get up to go help.

December 24th: kids have on their best Christmas PJ’s and can hardly think of sleep. Moms and dads get everything ready for the night, including a plate of fresh cookies, a glass of milk in the fridge for later and a slew of Christmas movies to pass the time until evening. The Christmas tree is standing tall and proud. Presents are shining teasingly underneath, ready for Christmas morning. Everyone is waiting one last night for Christmas day.

December 24th, my family sits together in the living room, pleased and exhausted. We managed to get everything done and the house now looks like a home. I smile, despite the weird stiffness of my muscles from moving boxes and furniture. We did it! All of us working as a team, managed to make this new place our own. Still, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. My mom says sadly to my brother and I, “I know it’s not the best…We just didn’t have the money this year to do Christmas. What with paying for the new house and the move…we just didn’t have it, guys.”My dad and grandparents look sad, too. “It’s okay, we understand Momma,” I say. My brother adds, “We’re good Mom, we don’t need anything.” My mom smiles a little and my Pa makes a joke about at least having a working heater now.

My mom decides to make dinner and everyone helps out. I grin really big and start dragging my brother to the attic.”We’re gonna have a tree,” I say. He looks at me like I’ve lost my mind, which I sort of had. We were going to have a tree if it killed me. A few hours later, our tree is up and decorated beautifully! “Now its Christmas!” Pa says. I smile slightly, a little tired but not done yet. Going to my room, I pull out my stationary. As everyone falls asleep that night, the Christmas tree is standing tall and proud.

December 25th: kids are opening up gifts of all sorts and spilling the contents of their stockings. The whole family is up and celebrating as early as 7 a.m.

December 25th, my family starts trickling into the living room around 10 a.m. I hear my mom making coffee and my dad opening the fridge. I hear my Pa already making breakfast as my grandmother opens the door of her room and trudges down the hall. The last one awake, my brother comes into the living room like a zombie and plops on the couch. When everyone is in the living room, no one speaks. I explain that for each of them, there’s a card under the tree. I made them the night before and inside is a little comic describing each of them. Everyone reads their cards and shares their short poem and drawing. We all smile, laugh and enjoy being together. Everyone is sort of surprised, but happy. There are no snowmen figurines, no Santa’s or reindeer, and no presents.

The Christmas tree stands tall and proud, and my family is together.

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Zoee Rogers, Writer/Photographer

Hey, I'm a Leo (if you're familiar with the star signs ;) forever and always in love with the arts, especially Photography (my specialty :) and honesty...

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