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A Little Magic

My house has two warm rooms, the living room, and the kitchen. Those enormous wood stoves certainly do the trick, and the sound of the wood crackling never gets old. It's about thirty minutes before bedtime, and I need to make sure I'm prepared to drift away quickly. It's a big night with Santa making a stop, so I have to do everything right. I've spent all year being a good boy, so I sure don't want to cause a ruckus at the last minute.

Opening the door leading to the foyer, I make a frantic dash zipping around the steps bursting through my bedroom door to flip the switch on my electric blanket. A tiny light appears to let me know it's working while I watch my frozen breath for a second before returning to the warmth of the living room. You're either too hot or too cold in an old house, and there is no in-between. Too long in the kitchen and sweat beads up on my forehead, but one step in the next room, and I'm ready for a heavy coat.

On school mornings, I'd abandon the luxury of my blanket and race to the bathroom to plop down on the floor. Our electric space heater was my only hope of survival. A red glow would gradually take over the coils while one-half of my body defrosted. Once I couldn't take it anymore, I'd switch sides and repeat before jumping into a hot shower. By the time I got out, the modest area was full of steam and warm enough to dry off and get dressed. It was my ritual, and I had it down to an art.

School should be the last thing on my mind because tomorrow is a momentous day, and I must remain centered. With fifteen minutes to kill, I crack open the worn copy of our Sears catalog and turn to the pages I delicately marked weeks ago. Instantly, my eyes are cemented to the Lone Ranger and Silver, his steed. I secretly wanted Tonto and Scout too, but each toy was almost ten dollars, and I do not want Santa to think I'm selfish. Grabbing a handful of silver tinsel icicles from the Christmas tree, I tossed them onto the television screen and watched them pop and bounce around when I touched them for a tiny shock.

Mom, in her robe, snuck up on me and said, "Christopher, get that stuff off of the tv and get to bed if you want Santa Clause to make a stop." It's all she had to say; I immediately followed her directions, told her I loved her, then scurried off. When decorating the television set, I overheard the newsman say the Air Force spotted Kris Kringle entering the USA. A friend of mine had the nerve to inform me that Santa isn't real on the last day of class before Christmas break. It'll be fun to tell him he's incorrect because the military has evidence.

Hardly anything is more satisfying than slipping into a heated blanket at bedtime. After pulling the covers over my head, I'd lay there until the last bit of chill left my nostrils. My nose is always the final thing to heat up and the first thing to freeze. Then I slip off my socks to enjoy the feeling of my bare feet cradled in pure coziness. Now that I'm officially safe from hypothermia, I can finally rest and dream about the joy I'll find under the evergreen in a few hours.

Of course, the desire to fall asleep and falling asleep on Christmas Eve are two separate matters. My imagination ran wild as I envisioned Saint Nick tiptoeing around and emptying his bag beneath our tree. "How is it even possible to visit every single house in the world in one night?" I thought to myself. He is mystical, so my best guess is that he suspends time and fulfills everyone's wishes in the blink of an eye. To him, it takes about three days which is much more reasonable, but for us mortals, it all happens while we slumber. I smile as I am sure I've discovered Santa's great mystery, but I'll keep this info to myself because I'd never want it to fall into evil hands.

Gosh, the night before Christmas has got to be the longest evening of the entire year. Although I'm not sure, so I'll try to look that up sometime in our World Book Encyclopedias. If you know the alphabet, you can find anything in those books. It probably has something to do with the big guy pausing time all night long. If that's the case, I doubt I'll have much luck researching, but I'll take a look anyway.

After hours of pondering questions like, "I wonder if he brushes his teeth after milk and cookies every time?" I can finally see daybreak. Full of adrenalin, I slip my socks back on and turn my blanket off. The moment I have waited for all year is finally here, and I can hardly contain myself. The bitterness doesn't phase me as I walk through the freezing foyer. Mom and Dad are awake; I hear the television, and all I have to do is wander straight into utter bliss. Before another step, I shut my eyes to thank God for the most incredible home a kid could ask for, and I close my prayer with, "Happy Birthday Jesus."

The door creeks as I lean into it just enough to see my parents relaxing on the couch, urging me to explore. Before Santa Clause moves on to the next family, he never forgets to leave a little magic behind. I know because I can sense the awe erupting within my chest. The enchantment of this extraordinary celebration propels me toward our spruce to expose all of the wonders a child could manage. It was as though some great power raised the toys from our catalog and meticulously placed them where they belonged. All that's left to do is to ride off into the sunset. Hi-Yo, Silver, and away!

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