My little hand grips the railing tightly. I’m tiptoeing down the stairs, trying to be as quiet as a mouse. When I glance outside everything looks gray; it must still be really early. I step over the second to last step so that it won’t creak. I’m watching my feet carefully, it’s dark and I don’t want to trip. No one else wants to be awake that early.
At the bottom of the stairs I scurry to the door of the living room and pause with my hand on the door. I listen carefully: the furnace is clanging, but that’s the only sound in the house. I don’t even hear snoring from upstairs or birds outside. The door handle is cold in my hands and I realize for the first time that it’s freezing in the house. I shift from foot to foot and I push the door open.
The massive tree dwarfs the room, it’s blinking lights illuminate the whole space. It’s so beautiful I can’t tear my eyes away from it. I helped trim the tree. I’ve seen it every day for the last two weeks, but this morning it shines more brightly than ever before; Christmas has worked it’s magic.
A package catches my eye, and then another, and another. Presents are packed tightly under the huge tree, piles spill over right and left, there are even presents in the gaps between presents, and over presents, and under presents. I see red, gold, blue, silver, green, orange. I see shiny ribbons and matte wrapping paper. I see big boxes and tiny packages. I can even see a bicycle over in the corner. It’s big, big enough for a grown-up, dark blue, with a big red ribbon on the handle bar. I tiptoe over and see the tag “For Mommy.” It must be from Dad.
Now that I’ve moved closer to the tree I’m right next to the presents. I hold my breath as my eyes sweep over the brightly wrapped piles until I see one with my name on it. Blue snowmen on red sleighs. While my brain is trying to talk me out of picking it up, my left hand has already snatched it up. A part of me is always convinced that there won’t be anything for me. But here it is, soft and squishy! Maybe a sweater. I turn it over and over again in my hands, but it’s well wrapped, I’ll have to wait until morning to discover the hidden treasure. I place it back down gently and turn away from the tree. I tiptoe towards the door and look back at the tree. The lights blink slowly, winking at me, promising more Christmas magic.
I sneak back up to my room moving quietly through the dark house the way I came. Glancing out the window as I climb back into my bed I see the sun peeking through the trees. It’s almost Christmas morning and I have a present waiting for me under the tree.