Christmas won’t be the same this year.
The thought is visible in the smaller tree in her living room. There was a time when the pine tree had stood ten feet high adorned with garland and popcorn trimmed all around its edges. Ornaments of all sizes and shapes would be strung out around its branches. The lights would change from pure white to multicolored and back in blinks of time. Now her tree is only 5 feet. There is no garland. There are no lights. Just one single ornament she found lying in an old drawer, by chance, to put on.
There are no presents under the tree. In random and rushed trips to the post office everything had been mailed weeks ago. She still isn’t sure if some of the presents reached their recipients. She hopes they did. The only thing left under the tree now is a snow white cat, sleeping soundly.
There is no music playing this Christmas Eve. The house is quiet, so quiet that even a mouse stirring would jar her enough to make her jump. There is nothing baking in the oven. Only take out containers in the kitchen garbage.
She nurses her second cup of egg nog. It’s really more rum than cream but there is no one around to argue with her. No uncles telling her jokes. No aunts wrapping her in warm hugs. No cousins to jump around and make fools of themselves with. No brother to even tease and laugh with like every other year past.
Christmas won’t be the same this year. She takes another sip of her drink.
But there is still hope, she tells herself as she looks at the empty fireplace. A year from now she will buy a fifteen foot tree, even if it doesn’t fit in her house, and she’ll throw every string of light she owns around its edges. Not an inch of pine will be left uncovered as she’ll drag the ornaments down from the attic by herself if she has to. All year she’ll save up and use wily ways to figure out what everyone on her list wants as a gift. That fifteen foot tree will be too small to hold everything she’ll find. The music will be as loud and roaring as the fireplace, and the whole house will smell of hints of garlic, drops of lemon and eventually sugar cookies.
She puts down her drink.
Good things are worth waiting for. Next year, she knows, will be the most magical Christmas yet.
©2021 Jai Lynn