Imagine a small village with snow dusted on trees, and on the rooftops of country houses, and small apartment buildings. The sidewalks have snowbanks amongst them, from when snow plows do their morning routine. My house is a small two story home. I live with my family. We are the Jansens. I’m Ana, the oldest Jansen child– I’m 20 years of age. I only have two other sisters. Emily is the second oldest, she is 16, just turned. Melodia just turned ten a few days ago. She’s the Christmas child at our house. Our mother, Tiffani runs the house on her own. She is a single parent, and she does well at it.
It’s also around Christmas here, and we celebrate with each other, plus our Aunts and Uncles come for dinner on Christmas day. It’s a lot of fun.
There’s a snow storm brewing outside, that much I can tell. Mom wants all of us to stay indoors, but of course Emily wants to go out to the mall and go Christmas shopping with her friends. I did offer to drive her, and eventually mom reluctantly agreed. I’m going to be picking her up at 9pm from the mall, just to make sure she makes it home safely.
“Why did you suggest to drive me?” Emily asked while getting into the car. “I could drive too, if you watch.”
“It’s snowing heavily out,” I reminded her. “Most sane people would wait to do their shopping until there is safer weather conditions.”
“True,” Emily agreed. “I promised them though.”
“I know,” I continued. “They could wait for another day, couldn’t they? Well, if your safety depended on it… am I right?”
“You’re right,” Emily sighed. “I just wanted to spend time with them.”
“That’s exactly why I offered to drive,” I reminded her. “You best be thankful, Em. Mom will find out if you aren’t!”
“Oh, all right!” Emily snapped. “Thank you for driving then.”
“I will tell mom if you snap at me too, you know,” I replied firmly. “Here you are. Have fun!”
“Thank you, thank you!” Emily exclaimed excitedly. “I’ll see you at 9pm!”
Once I dropped her off at the mall, I decided to head home. It’s not the nicest weather to be driving in, but it is pretty to look at from inside the warm house. Mom and I decided to get some Christmas baking done, so that’s what I did when I returned.
“Mom,” I began, while looking for the Christmas baking recipe book. “Emily has become very needy, why is that?”
“Ana, my child,” my mother chided. “Emma is still a teenager. You were rather needy at 16. I remember so.”
“Ugh, really?” I asked in disgust. “Thank goodness I’m not like that now. It is irritating me seeing Em like that. I can just imagine how you felt when you saw me like that.”
We started throwing together the ingredients needed for our famous Jansen Christmas cookie recipe. After a batch of Christmas cookies were in the oven, I decided to make my signature Christmas Candy Snowballs. They’re easy to make, and make great gifts, with assorted other baked goods too. That’s what we do for friends and acquaintances in the village.
After a good batch of baking got done, I went to pick up Emily from the mall. The winter winds were blowing fiercer now, and the snow was blowing. Not good to be out in those weather conditions, but Emily insisted on going out… how ungrateful of her, and it really bothers me.
“Hey Em,” I said as she got into the car. “How was the mall? Probably desolate, since people are smart and are staying out of this winter storm.”
“It was pretty desolate, yeah,” Emily admitted. “Thank you for driving me though, Ana.”
“You realize I might be risking my life here,” I said acidly. “I hope you can show some respect to mom for letting you go.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Emily said in monotone. “What did you do while I was out?”
“Talked with mom, and did some Christmas baking,” I replied. The Christmas Candy Snowballs are in their molds in the freezer hardening.”
“Yum, those are my favourite!” Emily babbled on.
“This batch is for our Christmas gift boxes,” I reminded her. “I will probably make another batch tomorrow, or the next day.”
“Yes!” Emily cheered excitedly. “I can’t wait!”
I parked in the garage when we got back home. The snow was heavier now, and as soon as I entered the house, I started searching the house for candles. I wanted to be prepared in case the wind took down our power line. I also put a cooler with ice in the garage for all our frozen food, and baked goods. I figure I’d prepare the house for mom, just in case we lost our power.
“Mom!” I called from the foyer. “Shall I shovel the walkway?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, Ana,” she responded from the kitchen. “Yes, please!”
Before I headed out to shovel, I thought about bringing my youngest sister, Melodia, with me so she could be outside and play in the snow. She loves the snow, and she loves anything to do with winter. The rest of the family, however, does not. I personally don’t mind it, and she likes that. She likes when I go out with her.
Once outside, I did some shoveling of the driveway, and walkway up to the front porch of the house. My sister decided to jump into the snow mounds as I was shoveling. She loves to do that with anyone who shovels, especially me. She giggled when she revealed herself amongst the snow mound. I couldn’t help but laugh too, although she was creating more work for me.
“Ana, sister,” Mel said. “Come make snow angels with me. Or, better yet, Christmas angels made of snow.”
“After I’m finished, Mel,” I replied, smiling at her. “You love your Christmas angels, don’t you?”
“Christmas snow angels, actually,” Mel corrected me.
“I must shovel more before we head in,” I told her. “Do you want to stay out here with me, or go inside?”
“I’ll stay,” Mel replied enthusiastically. “Why would I want to leave you out here by yourself? That’s not fair, is it?”
“No,” I agreed. “I suppose not. Most of the family I wouldn’t catch being out here with me, except for you, of course.”
“You’re probably right,” Mel agreed, and laughed at the image it created in her mind.
After I finished shoveling, I headed inside with Mel. I thought about making hot chocolate for Mel and I, to warm up from being outside. Mom beat me to it, and offered it to us as soon as we entered the house. It’s amazing how well our mom knows us. She should, considering she raised us all by herself.
“How was shoveling?” Mom asked.
“It was all right,” I said. “Miss Mel tried to jump in the snow mounds I created with the snow I shoveled. She found it quite funny. I couldn’t help but laugh too, though.”
“Oh, silly Mel,” mom chuckled aloud.
“She’s the only winter loving child,” I replied. “I don’t mind winter, but it isn’t my favorite season.”
“Thank you for getting the shoveling done,” mom added.
“No trouble,” I replied back. “It’s getting bad out there. Might have to shovel again in the morning before people leave the house.”
“The plows should come in the morning,” mom told me.
I woke up early the next morning. It was Christmas Eve, and mom was right. The roads were ploughed from last night’s snowfall. When I looked out my window into our front yard, I could still see Mel’s Christmas snow angels, left unscathed. They were indeed pretty to look at. I then realized today was going to be a fairly busy day. We had baked good gift boxes to give to people in our neighbourhood. It’s a tradition we do every year to give back to our neighbourhood. That’s the gift of Christmas, I believe.
“Children!” Mom called from the kitchen. “Breakfast is ready! We have a big day of gift giving and more Christmas baking to get done. Mass is tonight too, don’t forget.”
“Midnight mass?” Emily asked from her bedroom.
“Yes,” I called back from my room. “Of course!”
“Will there be Christmas snow angels?” Mel asked.
“Yes, yes, yes,” mom answered. “Now, hurry up! You mustn’t let your breakfast get cold!”
As I got dressed in my red velvet dress, with white tights and my black shoes, I was thinking about what a wonderful Christmas this would be. Lots of time giving, and spending time with family too. Today is only the start of an awesome Christmas!
After breakfast, we all headed out with our gift boxes, snowsuits, boots, hatts and mittens to go deliver Christmas sweet boxes to our surrounding neighbourhood. That’s a tradition we’ve always had. When we would arrive at each house, Miss Mel would leave a Christmas snow angel for them on their front lawn, that didn’t change either. She’s been doing that since she was three.
Even when it snows just before Christmas, it is always special. Everyone is so appreciative when we show up on their doorstep with homemade baked goods from our home to theirs, and it doesn’t cost them anything. That’s the wonderful thing about giving. This Christmas, however, seems more special in some way… a wonderful, snow-filled Christmas!