Christmas in September This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My grandma is a short woman who has the best senseof humor, but she lives in Michigan and I live in Colorado. No one has much moneyfor visits so I hardly ever get to see her. Any time we spend together ismemorable, but there's one visit I'll never forget.

It was the summer whenI was seven years old, and one of those dull weekends in August when you feellike doing something, but nothing sounds worthwhile. I felt trapped, and couldn'tbear being around my family. My younger brother's constant whining and my olderbrother's rude remarks were driving me insane. The broken air conditioner and theblaring TV (which no one was watching) didn't help, either.

I stood up,ready to go lock myself in my room and blast the stereo, when the doorbell rang.Who could that be?

It was my grandma and her husband Harry who had driven1,200 miles for a surprise visit. She had two week's vacation, which meant shecould stay until the end of the month. We all knew she wouldn't be able to see usagain for a long time, so this made us think of an idea for celebration. Ourtheme was Christmas, and we went all the way.

We honestly didn'thave the money to do it, but we celebrated anyway. We drew names and each shoppedfor one person. We bought a tree, which was hard to find, and set it up. We evenwent so far as to buy lights and put them on the roof. We wanted it to seem likethe real thing. All we needed was snow.

All our neighbors thought we werecrazy. When they asked if we were getting ready for Christmas early, I joked,"Are you kidding? Don't you know when Christmas is?" I will neverforget the looks on their faces.

Eventually "Christmas Eve"arrived. It was also the night my grandparents had to leave. We played games, ateour Christmas feast, and opened our presents. There was lots of sadness, tearsand hugs, and when it got dark, it was time for them to go.

Sure, it was"Christmas," but no one was joyful. After their departure we all helpedtake down the decorations. We finished around midnight, and went to bed withoutsaying much to each other.

I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned andstared at the clock. At about 2:30, I heard someone in the living room. I sat up.Then jingle bells broke the silence, followed by a loud, jolly voice saying,"Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!" I assumed it was my father. He knew wewere all sad, so he was continuing the charade. I smiled, but was annoyed. I gotup to tell him a thing or two but when I walked into the family room, no one wasthere. All the Christmas decorations were back up, and there were more presentsunder the tree, all different sizes.

I stood in awe of the beautiful mess.When I broke out of my little box of amazement, I turned around to tell everyoneto come and join me. But I stopped. There, right behind me, was Harry dressed ina Santa suit. And believe me, he played the part very well.

Before I evenhad a chance to speak, he grabbed my arm and said "Merry SeptemberChristmas!" He smiled, then winked, keeping in character. "We decidedto stay another day and watch you all open your real presents."

Laterthat morning we opened the presents. I don't remember what they were, not eventhe big one. When we were through, we wished them off again, and this time I feltsatisfied. Now everything seemed right. I had more hope for seeing them againsoon.

I later found out that my grandma had called her employer from a gasstation and asked for a couple more days off. Although she didn't get them, shestayed anyway. She would be late for work, but she said that didn't matter.Spending time with her family was more important than anything - especiallymoney, or in her case, a crazy job.

Ever since then I've come to theconclusion that if I have time I will spend it with my family - no matter what -because that is what is most important.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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