a short story
by Joshua Coffman
She turned the little plastic knob, scrubbing through the radio static
until finally, Mannheim Steamroller came clearly through the speakers.
Christmas music was finally here. She turned around and walked back to
her steamy cup of coffee.
No one was awake yet in the house, they were all still passed out from eating too much turkey the day before. She walked with the warm cup of coffee to the corner of the living room where she could see over the lake right outside their home. She stood there looking out the window, still waking up. Her mind slowly warming up with the coffee that warmed her hands.
Past the lake was a splendid view of the snow covered forest. Impressive trees reached into the sky, flexing their branches, holding up the piles of snow that had been falling the night before. The sun was still behind the horizon, but the darkness was quickly fading away.
She could hear stirring upstairs. One of the children had woken up and was making their bed. A few moments later, Mykah started coming down the stairs in her nightgown. Mykah was a kind girl with long dark brown hair. She had just turned 13 several days earlier and was always intent on being a hard working teenager.
“Good morning, Ma.” Mykah came over to her mother and gave her a hug. They embraced for several minutes looking out at the sunrise together. The Christmas music played softly in the background. Mykah enjoyed the smell of coffee in the morning. It had a warm pleasant smell that gave her insides a hug.
Mykah pulled away from her mother for a moment and they both walked into the kitchen to get breakfast ready for themeselves and their family. They had a large family. In total there was 8 of them. Of course there was Mother and Father and Mykah, but there were also 4 more girls and 1 older brother.
They put on a pot of steel cut oats and Mykah got out some of the frozen berries. Mother sliced up a couple bananas and put on a kettle to make some more warm drinks for the soon to be breakfasting family. Father came in from his early morning walk and Mykah went upstairs to remind the rest of her siblings that it was breakfast time.
Mykah’s youngest sibling, Anna, had already dressed herself and was just tidying up her bed before she came downstairs. Mykah turned on the lights and gently shook her other sisters, Joni, Leanne, and Julie. They all rolled out of bed and one by one came downstairs.
Ryan was in his room, reading, when Mykah came by to remind him of breakfast. He was a good older brother and always cared for his sisters. He protected them and taught them and loved them with all his heart.
They all met downstairs at the kitchen table and Father reminded them that today was a holiday but it was a busy exciting holiday. Today they would decorate for Christmas. Over their oatmeal and fruit, Father discussed what they needed to get done. There was several boxes of Christmas decorations that they needed to put up. And each of them had a different job to do.
Each of them chimed in with their support for today’s work and different ideas were discussed on how to make this year’s decorating special. When breakfast was finished, Julie and Anna worked together to clean the kitchen while the rest of the family got dressed and ready for the work ahead.
Father and Ryan headed out into the cold to get the Christmas boxes from the shed behind the garage. Mykah and her two other sisters quickly got dressed and washed their faces before heading through the home to clear away all the summer and fall decorations.
Mother was already busy clearing and cleaning the shelves and mantlepiece where most of the decorations would be going. They always kept a tidy house, but this was one of only a couple times a year that she could get a good deep cleaning done on the house.
When all the boxes were laid out in the living room, Ryan went to get started on the lights outside. He enjoyed being outside in the quiet. Father had pain in his hands and he couldn’t stay outside for long until it became unbearable, so he stayed inside as much as possible.
Mykah taught Anna how to tie bows and went around the house, up and down the bannisters and on the doors, placing beautiful red bows. Anna was a quick learner, she was only 5 years old but she was a hard worker and everyone in the family helped her learn and understand how to help around the house.
Julie cleaned all the bathrooms and decorated them with Christmas hand towels and small little decorative pieces of evergreen.
Leanne was busy helping mother now, cleaning the kitchen and changing the table setting to Christmas colors.
Joni and Father were working on the Christmas tree in the living room.
Christmas music continued throughout all the day, as they all worked together to make the house a festive Christmassy lake-side hideaway.
Mykah was happy to see the house come together so nicely. She was excited to show her friend all of the beautiful fruit of their work that they had made, especially the bows that her and her little sister had made.
Ulyssa was Mykah’s best friend. They had known each other for ever since Mykah was a little girl, probably the same age as Anna. They were the same age and Ulyssa was a very hard working girl. She was so hard working, that she always had extra pocket money. Every time Mykah saw her, she would talk about a new job that she had done for a neighbor or stranger to earn some money.
In fact, Ulyssa was coming over for lunch today. Father had ordered pizzas for them so that they wouldn’t have to cook on their Christmas decoration day. And Ulyssa was coming over to help with the Christmas tree decorations. She came over every year to help decorate the Christmas tree.
Mykah heard the door bell ring and she ran downstairs to answer it. Ulyssa was at the door and her older brother was already helping Ryan hang some of the lights. They hurried inside to start looking at the tree decorations and decide on what they were going to do this year.
Mother and Father were letting Mykah decide on how to decorate the tree herself, now that she was a teenager. So her and Ulyssa browsed through the ornaments and tinsel until the pizza deliveryman showed up.
The whole family including Ulyssa and her older brother gathered around the pizza boxes and gave thanks to God for another year and asked His blessing on the food and their work ahead.
Over pizza, Mykah and Ulyssa told the family their plans for the Christmas tree. This year it was going to be lots of silver tinsel, small red ornaments and a gold star at the top. The lights would be the simple white ones wrapped from the bottom to the top.
The two girls hurriedly ate their pizza and went back to the living room to set out the decorations for each of the family members to work on. The rest of the afternoon was spent as a big family in the living room, laughing, telling stories and putting the big trees decorations on until it was just perfect.
While the sun was just setting, the lights on the Christmas tree sparkled through the windows making them shimmer magically. Ulyssa and her older brother said goodbye and Mykah and her family sat down for a family Bible reading.
It had been a fun day filled with lots of work. When they opened up the Bible, Mother walked into the kitchen and turned the volume knob on the radio until the Christmas music faded out into nothingness. Father’s voice now read the Bible clearly and Mykah knew that all was well this Christmas.