Christmas in Seattle

September 24, 2008
Where are you from? I'm from sunny Los Angeles. We used to live near Disneyland, my mom and me, but then we moved to Seattle when I was seven. We came here in the summer and its Christmas time right now. We don't have money and live in an apartment, so that means no tree, no decorations. I did make some cookies and set out some milk for Santa when he comes. I had a whole list of toys I wanted, ones we couldn't afford. I wanted some toys for my first kitten, Twister, who we got during Halloween.

We didn't name my cat. Mom says he came with the name. It must be because his little tail curls around like a pig's. He's so small I can hold him with one arm and mom can just carry him in her one hand. He's gotten a bit bigger since we rescued him. Hopefully, he likes his first Christmas.

I went to bed when my mom told me to, so excited about the next morning. Mom and I shared a room, but most of the time we went to bed at different times. I slipped out of the clothes I'd been wearing all day and into a large T-shirt that I typically wore to bed. Normally, at my Gramma’s house, we had three trees and stockings for the eight that still lived there and the others who popped in and out all Christmas Day. It was hard to get comfortable in the bed, but that may have been because I was too excited about what would be happening when I woke up. I wanted to see if I could spot Santa and tell him thank you for giving gifts to all the little children of the world. But I wasn't able to get up after I fell asleep.

I ran out of the room I shared with my mom the moment I woke up to see the big surprise that was there, in my living room. My jaw dropped at the sight of a fully decorated Christmas tree. It had tons of ornaments and lights on it. Plus, there were so many presents piled below it.

I looked over at the wall, because we had no fireplace. There, hung two stockings. They were even labeled so my mom and I wouldn't get confused. An idea struck and I ran to the now empty plate and glass where I had left out the cookies and milk. While the cookies were indeed gone, there was a note there too. I read it and it said, "Thanks for the cookies and milk. I had to put the kitten in the bathroom so he wouldn't get into the presents. Merry Christmas, Santa Claus." I headed straight for the only bathroom in the apartment and opened the door. Little Twister was sitting in the tub and looked at me with wide eyes before padding over to me at the doorway.

Now that he was out, I went back to the bedroom to tell mom what Santa had done for us. She was still asleep, so I climbed on her bed, and said while jumping, "Mom! Mom! Santa came! Come see what he did!" I was so excited that I wanted mom to see what happened when we were asleep.

She started to open her eyes and yawned. "Alright, I'm up. I'm up." I climbed off the bed to let her move the blankets, so she could get out. I pulled her arm as I led her to the living room as if she may have forgotten the way. Gramma’s house had seven rooms to get lost in, but the apartment only had one.

"Look at all this, Mom," I said, pointing at the presents stack and all the decorations around the room. "He even left a note. He put Twister in the bathroom." I showed her the note. At Gramma’s, we couldn’t have a cat or other pets, because she was allergic, so we never had that conflict before.

"Then we should probably let him out."

"I already did." I ran to the presents, dropping her hand. The first box I picked up had my name on it. "Look. It says it's for me. It's from Gramma." I look around the apartment's living room. We didn't have a fireplace, so I wondered how the other presents got there. "Mom, how did Santa get in here?"

"He must have climbed through the window," she told me. Gramma didn’t have a fireplace either, but he came in the front door there. Of course, I believed her and went back to the box in my hands.

"Can I open it, please?" She nodded and that was all I needed to begin ripping the paper back. I saw a long, rectangular, white box under the paper. After the paper was off, I threw it to the ground and it drifted downward while I went to open the box. It was taped shut, so I pulled off the tape. Once the last piece of tape was gone, the box almost collapsed in my hand because of the weight of it. One piece of cloth fell out. It had snowmen on it and trees and a dark blue background. I pulled out the other piece of the same cloth from the box. I was holding a pair of pants. I set the box down and picked up the other material. It was a shirt. My traditional Gramma jammies. She made them for me every year. "Cool."

Mom smiled. "Looks like Santa got to Gramma's first to pick that up for you," she suggested.

"That's so cool." I was all ready to continue stripping paper from boxes. A crumpling sound caught my ear and I looked at my feet. In that red Santa paper laid Twister, claws digging in the scrap. He had leapt at it. He went for an edge of the paper that had jerked. Mom and I both laughed at our silly kitten. I picked up another box and saw it said it was from Santa to me. I ripped the paper, purposefully throwing it over the cat, who tried to catch it.

It continued like that, opening one present at a time, having the cat attack the paper, until all the gifts from under the tree were gone. Twister was almost lost in the pile of wrapping paper. While we'd gone through them all, there had been some toys for Twister, slippers for Mom, and so many toys, I was buried. "What about the stockings?" Mom said, pointing at the wall where they hung still.

"Oh, right." I launched myself from the couch to the wall. I pulled both down and handed the green one to Mom. "This one says it's yours." I had the red stocking that was a bit bigger. We took turns going through our stockings, pulling out one piece each first. It was a great first Christmas in Seattle, but it wasn't over yet. We had a tradition of watching Charlie Brown every year. My Uncle Joey always sat with me, and then we’d play in the pool while the sun was still up and our cousins were around.

Mom pointed at the window in the dining room. "Is it raining again?" she wondered. "Looks different." I raced to the window to look out it. On the ground there were white flakes sprinkled out.

"It's snowing!" I shouted. I hadn't seen snow fall before, growing up in Los Angeles. "Mom, it's snowing outside!" I was hoping up and down, so happy to see my first snowfall.

"Well, let's get you dressed and bundled so you can get out there." I went to our room and got ready to go outside. My first snowfall in Seattle...

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