By Gabi Minto
Paper-white snowflakes trickled down from the late-evening sky. They coated my grandmother’s creaky, old, ivy-covered house. We all gather in the warm kitchen and watch all the food set out before us. Christmas Eve. The best day of the year, besides Thanksgiving of course. Roasted ham, mashed potatoes, collard greens, stuffed mushrooms. Warm foods that we all eat on the one day we can be connected with each other. The older kids and myself all fill up our plates, maybe 2, and carefully travel up the stairs to my cousin’s room. We don’t want to get in the way of the adult who’re drinking and dancing and talking. Or the younger ones who are screaming over toys or how we stepped on one of their cars. The frigid night air creeps under doorways and through window cracks as the night goes on and the music begins to die down. After feasting on food and way too many desserts, we gather in the living room near the sparkling, red and white, evergreen smelling tree. All the younger kids, though tired, fidget excitedly wondering about what astonishing presents they got. Then tío Juan says an oración and thanks everyone for coming all this way so we can all celebrate together. Then he moves out of the way and rings the traditional bell. They dive in! All the adults laugh as the little kids scrambled towards the presents. Throwing those that aren’t theirs. Screaming out names of those who they know. Wrapping paper flying everywhere. In the air, on the floor, on the tree, even in my hair. Once the kids grab all their new toys, we all sit on the floor or on the couches. We open our gifts slowly, thanking those who gave them to us. We sit, sipping hot cocoa, and watch the little ones play with their new toys. It’s fun. It’s a day where the only yelling is that of joy and praise. Then it is only me. I sit on the couch, with my hot cocoa and my laptop. I’m writing. Wearing the new socks i got from tia Claudelina and the new hoodie I got from my cousin. A chiming interrupts my peace of writing. The clock. It’s midnight. All the kids, groan putting down their toys. I laugh remembering how I once did the same. The parents walk over to their kids and begin helping them shrug into their jackets. Another 15 minutes of goodbyes, and the house is silent. I walk over to the kitchen, kiss my grandma goodnight, and pour myself another cup of hot cocoa. My mother and sister are already asleep, getting rest for tomorrow’s Christmas Brunch. I open up the tab with my story and continue.
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