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Friday, December 19, 2008

Get thee to the Christmas Tree

I'm going to be heading out to see the family today - off 'til the 29th to spend some warm-fuzzy time with the people I really only see once or twice a year.

Getting everyone together is tough and keeping them in the same room is tougher - we're definitely an interesting mix - but outside of all the bluster and drama that the holidays tend to bring, we always end up together. There's something special about that - though sometimes I think all the drama is just to set things up for the wonder that is our Christmas morning.

It begins with a stifled knock at my door - like clockwork, 5:55am rolls around and the tradition that has become our own begins to play out.

My brother, sneaking from his chamber, knocking on our doors with the 5 minute warning - in the hallowed position of the 'waker', he who prepares the forces for what is to come.

My sister, her door cracking, disappears down the stairs - slinking into the darkness - preparing the magical potion and foraging in the abyss for the hidden socks of treasure.

As the eldest I wake and prepare to enter direct confrontation with the slumbering one. Quietly at first, from the other side of the door I knock and call and pester - struggling to rouse her from her slumber. The first time will fail, this I know, but it is an important part of the process. Several attempts will be needed, but the slumbering one knows how this ritual plays out. First the grumbling, then groaning and eventually the sounds of stirring. But I do not relent - she's a cunning one and I've been tricked before.

My knocking and calls will continue until I hear the magic word, until I hear the two syllables that inform me my sacred task is complete:


Only then do I abandon my post, fleeing down the stairs as the door creaks, careful to avoid the wrath that would befall me should I pause. Down into the room by the twinkling tree, there do we wait, holding the steaming mystical potion, there do we stand together as one.

Once our offering is accepted, we take our ordained positions around the dancing lights, preparing to receive our share of the hard-won spoils.

Yet we are careful to wait until everyone has gotten their portion before we tear into the colourful, protective skins - lest we invoke her wrath. She will not and we will rip and tear and bite, revealing our victorious plunder to each other before looking to her and awaiting our portion. This shall play out again and again, divvying up the treasures to the very last, tatters flying around us, littering the ground like paper snow.

With the treasure shares, we are freed to gorge ourselves on the sweet delights hidden in our socks as the now-wakened-one stumbles into the kitchen to prepare the golden bird for the feast to come.

Barring us from entrance until the maddening scent overwhelms us all and we begin to plot anew.

Truly it is a magical time of year.

Merry Christmas to ye all!

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