That One Christmas Day

October 16, 2009
Christmas…the season that makes us all feel anxious, overwhelmed, and rushed. But it can also cause feelings of great joy, excitement, and most of all, love. Sharing this wonderfully glorious holiday with loved ones is a beautiful, memorable privilege.

My family is quite large—with sixteen cousins, six second cousins, ten aunts and uncles, and one pair of giving, thoughtful grandparents, one couldn’t ask for much more. Every Christmas is filled with laughter, twelve different conversations, and excitement, for Santa Claus is expected to visit each of the little cousins’ houses that night. With my trusty camera in hand, I happily criss-cross through the crowds of family members in each room, also having to swerve and dodge out of the way as a passing relative balances a teetering tray of fresh food over to the table. It had been close, but something told me there would soon have to be a mess to clean up. It was nearly impossible to come to my family Christmas without at least one person’s dinner scattered all over the kitchen floor after trying to carefully make their way through the crowds. I smile to myself and finally reach the family room, where over-excited fathers, uncles, and grandfathers leap out of their seats as the latest game flashes across the television.

Lucy, one of the youngest cousins, stands frozen in the doorway to the basement, watching everything unfold before her. Drinks are spilled, food is stained on the pants of various people, and everyone is gazing at the shining, glowing Christmas tree in awe. I allow my eyes to dart to it one last time before stumbling over to Lucy.

Lucy’s bright blue eyes pierce my green ones. I press the power button on my video camera and lower it to my side. “Hey, Lu. Having a merry Christmas?”

Lucy was clutching between her chest and her arms yet another baby doll she had received. “What’re you doin’, Hadley?”

I shrugged, glancing at my camera down at my side. “I was video taping. You wanna go down to the basement and play with your new doll?”

Lucy’s eyes widened with joy, and she reached out and gripped the bottom of my shirt. “Yeah! C’mon!”

I laughed at her excitement, and quickly followed her down the stairs to the basement.

My camera still holds the hilarious, heartwarming, and memorable videos that Christmas showed to me. But not even my camera could capture the true happiness that was practically soaring through the air. I remember receiving a cute strawberry composition notebook from my aunt, and I still have yet to write in it. I remember laughing aloud as I taped Lucy giving my cousin Olivia and I a vivid description of what Santa Claus does when he enters your house. According to her, Santa likes to “steal” cookies and parks his reindeer outside on top of your car. I also remember the countless pictures Olivia shot of all us cousins acting goofy and wild, as always.

Each Christmas holds funnier, happier memories than the last, but this particular Christmas I’ll never forget. The love my family shares with one another is simply amazing, and I do not believe I have ever heard a single cousin arguing with another. We truly are one big, happy family, and as cheesy as that may sound, I do know that it is certainly a statement that will live on in our lives. Christmas has that special effect on people, and I suspect I was struck by the magic of that wonderful holiday that one Christmas day.

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