How I love Christmas! I love everything about it: the food, the snow, the decorations, the singing, the stories, and the presents.
All the smells of food filling my home and the delicious tastes associated with them bring warmth to my body.
The colorful lights hanging on homes and offices and shrubbery make the world look magical. When I decorate my home with them, it makes me feel like I’m living in a kaleidoscope.
The snow is beautiful, covering the Earth with a blanket of white, and sparkling in the moonlight. I enjoy watching it fall and catching snowflakes like they’re rain drops. I also love building forts and snowmen and having snowball fights, then going inside for a nice cup of cocoa(with marshmallows) and snuggling in a cozy blanket.
Then there are the presents. The bows and papers and boxes waiting to be opened and discovered, makes people’s eyes become bright, and brings wonder and amazement for what treasures lay inside. I enjoy when they still say Santa Claus on the tags, even though I’m older and I know he isn’t real. I continue to believe in him, though, because of what he represents.
When hearing the stories about him, like the famous ‘The Night Before Christmas’, I become happy and remember the hope he brought me when I was little. He brings magic to children and gives life to their imagination. I also like the story of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ It shows what Christmas is really about; that it isn’t about the presents and lights and food, but about family. It’s about being together with the ones you love, who love you in return.
I think something that shows this, which is my most favorite thing about Christmas, is the music. As stated by Plato, ‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’ I didn’t always think this however. I used to think the presents were the most important thing. I would create these long lists that I would pass out to all the adults in the family and tell Santa about when I still thought he brought me presents. I was never much with helping with the decorations or food preparation even when I got to my late teens and graduated and moved to the dorms. That is, until I was in my second year at college and Christmas was just a couple days away. Since I enjoy stories, I think I’ll share mine with you…
It all started the morning two days before Christmas in my college dorm at the local university. Many students went home to their families, but some remained, either having too far to go to get home, not enough money to go back home and then back to school in January, or because of the weather in their home states, making them unable to get a flight home. Two of my roommates already went home, because they happened to be my high school friends, so they just had to drive a couple hours to get home.
Unfortunately for my fourth roommate, Gweyn, she was staying because she didn’t have the money to go back home and then come back again in January. She wasn’t the only one of my friends unable to go home though. Sam and J weren’t able to leave due to the weather, since school ended just yesterday. The airports had all flights to their home states cancelled. They might be able to make it home before New Year’s, but it appeared they would be stuck here for Christmas. Then there was Emma and Jules. They were the only university couple in our group. Sam has a girlfriend and Gweyn has a boyfriend, but they are back home at a different university or community college.
They would have stayed in their respective cities, but this was Princeton. It’s a great Ivy League school that can open many doors. If they offered scholarships, Gwen may have been able to go home. However, due to the fact that they don’t, her parents pay the expensive tuition so she can go to her dream school, because of the amazing job opportunities she could get having this prestige university on her resume. She works at a local clothing store to support herself while here and gives any extra she can to pay back her parents. They were willing to pay for her to come home and then go back, but she felt bad about all they already spent on her, since she comes from Arizona, and the plane tickets can be quite pricey.
As for me, I just love the campus and my friends. I can’t leave them behind and besides I only live a couple hours away. I’ll probably go home Christmas day anyway.
Anyway, this morning Gweyn comes into my room and sits on me. Ouch!
Cassie (that’s me): Get off Gweyn! What are you doing?
Gweyn: Trying to get you up. Come on! Let’s go do something fun. It’s so boring around here without Sarah and Athena. All you do is sleep, sleep, sleep.
Cassie: It’s nice. You should try it sometime.
Gweyn: Ok! Fine! Guess I can go hang with J and the others.
I toss the covers off.
Gweyn: Seems that got you up.
Cassie: Thought J went home.
Gweyn: Well if you wouldn’t sleep so much, you would have heard him earlier when he stopped by.
Cassie: What? He stopped by? Why didn’t you wake me up or something?
Gweyn: Calm down! He wasn’t here that long. He just stopped to say that he wouldn’t be going home because there were no flights and he didn’t want to drive all that way.
Cassie: That sucks.
Gweyn: Yea…but he did invite us to go hang with him and Sam, Jules, and Emma tonight.
Cassie: Really? Let me go take a shower and get ready then. We can head over early before the others arrive and hang.
Gweyn: Hold your horse Cass. Don’t you want to know what we’re doing first before you go getting all pretty for him?
Cassie: This doesn’t sound good and I’m not getting ‘pretty’ for him. I’m doing it for you actually.
Gweyn: Oh really?
Cassie: Yea! I mean you don’t get to see Tyler, so someone has to dress nice for you and tell you how pretty you look.
Gweyn: Funny Cass! We all know you like him and he likes you, so just make a move already.
Cassie: That’s easy for you to say. He’s gorgeous. How can I be the one to tell him I like him first? Isn’t that the guy’s job?
Gweyn: Alright fine, but you’re gonna regret it.
Cassie: Maybe. Now tell me what we’re doing tonight.
Gweyn: I’ll tell you after you shower. Now hurry up, you smell funny.
I toss my hoodie at her and head into the bathroom. I come out and find Gweyn sitting on my bed checking her Facebook on my computer.
Cassie: Alright! I smell pretty. Tell me what we’re doing.
Gweyn: Well, he wants to go caroling.
Cassie: You mean singing. What? No thanks. Let’s just go hang with him until the others show up and then I’ll leave.
Gweyn: Cass, come on! Why not? You have a great voice and it’ll be fun. Afterwards we can get some hot cocoa and you can snuggle on the couch next to J.
Cassie: No Gweyn. I don’t do all that Christmas stuff. It’s ok when you’re little, but now that I’m grown up, I don’t have to.
Gweyn: Please! Please! Please!
She places her hands on my shoulders, while still kneeling on my bed, and gently shakes me.
Gweyn: It’s not like you have any other plans. I know you love ‘Silent Night.’
I was about to tell her ‘no’ again, when my phone goes off. I see my mom is calling. I hit the ‘answer’ button and hold a finger up at Gweyn, who slides back on her knees. I put the speaker on as I reach my desk and brush my hair in the mirror.
Cassie: Hey mom! What’s up?
Mom: Hey sweetheart! I was just calling to see if you were going to be coming home tonight.
Cassie: I actually hadn’t planned on it. I thought I could come home Christmas afternoon.
Mom: Oh hunny! Why not? We’re going to celebrate tomorrow night at our place. It’s our turn this year and all our relatives are coming. You can bring some of your friends with you if you’d like. Any boys will have to stay in the basement though, you know how your father would react if they were even on the same floor as you. Plus, we’re going caroling tonight, it’ll be fun!
Cassie: Thanks mom, but…
I look at Gweyn.
Mom: Oh no! What? You’re not going to sleep all day, are you? Where’s your Christmas spirit?
Cassie: No mom! It’s not that. It’s just that…
Gweyn hurries over and grabs the phone. She makes it so I can’t get it back, by placing it way up high, because she is about a foot taller than me.
Gweyn: Hey there Mrs. Carter.
Mom: Oh Gweyn is that you?
Gweyn: Yes it is.
Mom: Good! Can you tell me why my daughter isn’t coming home to spend time with her family?
Gweyn: I certainly can.
She turns and I voice for her to give it back, but she ignores me.
Gweyn: She is actually going to go caroling with us tonight.
Mom: Really? How’d you get her to do that?
Gweyn: I told her how sad I was that I couldn’t go see my family and that if she would come sing with me, I wouldn’t feel so bad anymore.
I give her a dirty look and put my hands on my hips.
Mom: I’m sorry Gweyn. You know you’re always welcome here. You can come enjoy Christmas with us if you can get our daughter to come back home tomorrow.
Gweyn: Oh I’m sure I can arrange that. I’ll make sure to take a lot of pictures tonight while we are caroling and I’ll bring them with me next time I come.
I shake my finger at her and bow my head in defeat.
Mom: Alright! Thank you Gweyn! I appreciate it!
Gweyn: Anytime Mrs. Carter. Here’s Cassie.
She hands me the phone and I punch her shoulder. Not hard, just enough to get my point across.
Cassie: Hey mom!
Mom: Why didn’t you just tell me you were going caroling with your friends? I would’ve been fine with that. Just try to come back home tomorrow ok?
Cassie: I’m sorry mom! Guess it sort of slipped my mind or something.
Mom: Or something is right. I hope to see you tomorrow. Love you! Bye!
Cassie: Love you! Bye!
I hang up and turn to Gweyn.
Gweyn: Alright hurry and get ready. J is waiting.
Cassie: I’m gonna get you back.
Gweyn: I know. I can’t wait to take all those pictures to show your mom.
We hurry up and get ready and head over to Sam and J's. Luckily only J was there, so we talked with him for a few hours before the others started showing up. It was now one o’clock. Gweyn mainly let me talk with J, while she watched TV. I sat next to J of course. Once everyone was there, Emma passed little books out to everyone.
Cassie: What are these for?
Emma: Those are the songs we’ll be singing tonight. So everyone brush up on your carols.
I open the book and look at the songs. There were quite a few. There was ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Joy to the World’, and other classes. I flip to the final page and see my favorite, ‘Silent Night.’
Everyone else finishes up and Emma says, “Let’s go everyone! Get your mittens and coats ready. We’re going to the cafeteria first for those who didn’t get to go home.”
We get to the cafeteria and pull out our books. Emma takes lead and tells us what to sing. ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland.’ All the students are staring at us. I hide behind Gweyn, but remain by J’s side. He gives me a quick smile before we start.
J: You ready?
Cassie: I guess we’ll find out.
J: I’m looking forward to hearing you sing.
I blush and open my book to the song. Emma begins to sing and we follow along. We continue singing and people smile at us as we walk by and stop ever so often at one of the tables. They stop eating and listen to us sing. I see some of the couples get closer together and I can’t stop myself from peeking at J. He’s looking. He is definitely looking at me.
After singing numerous songs, we finish at the final table and everyone claps for us. I couldn’t help but smile at seeing how happy everyone was just for us singing to them. Some even came up and thanked us, telling us that they were feeling homesick and that our singing made them feel better. I recognized a couple of them from my classes when we would talk before the teacher came. I felt bad that they weren’t able to see their families and I was glad I made them feel better. I was especially happy when J grabbed my shoulders and told me how great I was. He thought I could sing really great, which made me unable to stop from blushing.
After the cafeteria, we began walking around the halls and dorms and campus, singing to other students who were staying on campus for Christmas. We even had several students join us. I found it to be amazing how many joined our group and how the songs became better because we got louder and people would be able to hear us better. Since we didn’t have many extra books, we began to share with others. J gave up his and shared with me.
After we had completed going about the whole campus, the extra students returned their books to Emma and thanked us for allowing them to join our group. Jules and Emma were going to go with them, but J asked if he could borrow Emma’s books, which she so graciously gave, before they left holding and swinging each other’s hands.
Cassie: What are you going to do with those?
J: Come on, I’ll show you! Are you guys coming to?
Sam: I can’t man. Have to go call Savannah. Told her I was going to when I was done.
J: That’s alright man! I’ll get you back at the dorms. What about you Gweyn?
Gweyn looks at us and then smiles.
Gweyn: You know what? You two go ahead. I actually wanted to call Tyler too and maybe my parents. Singing to those other students made me really miss them all, so I think I’m gonna call it a night.
J: That’s alright! I know what you mean! I’m gonna call mine later as well.
She turns around and hurries off as J turns to me. I can’t move.
J: Come on!
He grabs my hand and pulls me with him.
Cassie: Wait! What’s going on?
J: You’ll see. We aren’t done caroling yet.
Cassie: You mean me and you?
J: Yea, of course! It’ll be awesome!
He turns and smiles and then back again. I melt in his grip and follow him to his car. I get in and he begins driving. It’s only 4:30. I didn’t think we went caroling that long. He keeps driving until he reaches the local hospital. We get out and head up to the building.
Cassie: What are we doing here?
J: I told you. Caroling. It’s time to brighten some patients up.
We get inside and he talks to the front desk, then grabs my hand and pulls me to follow the nurse.
Cassie: Where are we going?
J: I asked her if it was alright if we sang to some of the patients. She said we could go sing in the children’s ward.
We get there and the nurse asks our names. There are so many children there with their families, some playing with toys in their hospital gowns, while others sat on their parents’ laps getting rocked back and forth. The nurse introduced us and said that we would be singing for them. J told me what to sing and so we did. The children gathered around us as we sung to them and some of their parents joined us. The children would smile and giggle, which made me feel so happy, so I looked up and smiles at J who smiled back. I didn’t blush or anything when he grabbed my hand, but just kept on singing.
The nurse told us that we would only have one more song, because visiting hours were almost over. J flipped through the songs and picked my favorite one.
J: This is my favorite!
Cassie: Yea! Mine too.
He let the others know and then we sang. Some of the parents went back to their children and began rocking them and holding them as we sang. Some of the children fell asleep and when we were done, I discovered I was crying. J grabbed me a tissue as the children who were still awake and their parents, as well as the parents carrying their now sleeping children, came up and thanked us. The nurse then led us out and thanked us as well.
J: So? What did you think?
Cassie: It was amazing! Seeing all those families sitting there, listening to us, I couldn’t believe how our singing just lit up all their faces. It was just like the students back on campus.
J: Yea, music can do that! I believe that there is power in music that brings people together and allows them to feel better and forget about their worries. That’s why I wanted to come here. So many of these children and patients don’t get to go home for Christmas. They don’t get to spend all those special little moments with the ones they love.
I begin to cry again.
J: What’s wrong Cass?
Cassie: It’s just that I feel like I’ve taken my family for granted after seeing all this.
J grabs me and pulls me into a hug.
J: You’re not the only one Cass. Sometimes things get in the way and others get pushed aside.
Cassie: I know, but I feel so guilty now and selfish. I should’ve told my mom I was coming home.
J: It’s alright Cass! You can still go home. There’s plenty of time. Be thankful that you’re able to and that you have such a kind, understanding family.
I look up at him and he drops his arms.
Cassie: You know? You’re right. Come on! I grab his hand and snake his keys out of his pocket.
J: What’s going on?
Cassie: It’s your turn to trust me. Let’s go!
I get into the driver’s seat and him into the passenger as we drive off.
Gweyn is sitting on the bed holding a picture of her family when J and the rest of us hurry in.
Gweyn: Whoa! What’s going on here?
Cassie: Pack a bag Gweyn! You’re going home.
I hand her a plane ticket for a roundtrip back home.
Gweyn: I can’t take this.
Cassie: Yes, you can! You’re going home. Don’t argue with me.
She tears up and then hugs me.
Gweyn: Thank you so much Cass! This means so much.
Cassie: I know, now let’s get you packed.
We all go to the airport and wave goodbye to Gweyn as she gets on the plane and we wait until it takes off.
Emma: So what now?
Cassie: Now you guys get packed. I have a little surprise for you.
Jules: I don’t like the sound of this.
Everyone laughs and then we go back to the campus and get packed. We then head out and then all follow me. We stop at a two-story house and everyone gets out and looks at all the lights the house has. There are many lights on the roof and a fake Santa and reindeer on the roof as well, and candy cane lights lighting the sidewalk to the door. I turn to Emma.
Cassie: May I have them Emma?
She pulls out her little books and hands them to everyone. We all stand next to each other and J grabs my hand again. We share a smile and then begin singing. Silent Night. We walk up the sidewalk and as we reach the steps, the doors open. My mom begins to cry as she covers her mouth and calls for my dad and younger sister. They smile and my dad holds my mom as we finish the song. My sister and mom hurry down and begin to hug me followed by my dad.
Mom: I’m so glad you came home.
Dad: I see you brought some company.
Cassie: I sure did. These are all my friends, whom you’ve met a couple times before.
Dad: Yep! I remember these faces. Well let’s go inside. Girls sleep upstairs. Boys in the basement.
Mom: I’ll make you guys some cocoa.
Sister: Yea! Sissy’s back. Sissy’s back.
Everyone heads inside, with J and I at the back. I begin to go inside, but he pulls my arm back and brings me close to him.
Cassie: What are you doing J? My dad won’t be too thrilled if he sees just the two of us standing here. He might get the wrong impression.
J: He wouldn’t be wrong.
He looks up and then do I. I see mistletoe and then he looks back at me. I quickly look inside and see my family and friends in the kitchen where they wouldn’t be able to see us. When I look and smile back at J, he reaches in for a kiss.
And all this was made possible, due to the magic of caroling.
Edited by -Windrider-, Dec 18 2012 - 05:21 PM.