By Daniel 'Chip' Ciammaichella
Wow, this Christmas stuff is really neat. I've been watching my family scurry around for weeks, just to get ready for this one, beautiful, magical morning. I've never seen anything like this before, and even though Mom and Dad try to explain it all to me and have told me wonderful Christmas stories, I'm not sure I understand it.
I'm Sam, and although I've been around the block a few times, I must admit this is the first time I've ever encountered this thing called Christmas. I've been on this earth for over 10 months and thought I knew it all. Now I find I'm not quite as worldly as I thought. Eh, live and learn.
Discovering new things is the spice of life and boy have I been discovering things lately. Who'd have thought you could plant a tree right inside the house? I'd always thought something was missing in the living room and when Dad brought that tree in, I knew what it was! What a great place for a tree.
And what a tree it is. Sure, I'm no tree expert, but I've been around my share and I've never seen a tree like this. It's green and fluffy, and reaches almost to the ceiling. As great as that tree would be by itself, the family immediately began to decorate it.
First, they dressed the tree in red, white, and blue lights that twinkled like miniature stars, and then they hung bright colored glass balls all around it. Dad placed a little angel on the top of the tree, too. She was dressed in a long, white, satin gown that draped gracefully over the treetop. She's really pretty. The best part was the long string of popcorn they wound round and round the tree. Popcorn was something new to me also, and though I was frightened by the popping sound it made on the oven, it sure tasted good. Of course Mom doesn't know I snuck some, so don't tell.
As long as we're sharing secrets, I've gotta tell you that I sneak food a lot. Now with this Christmas thing, Mom makes a lot of good stuff to eat, but rarely lets me have any. She claims it'll spoil my dinner, or sometimes she just says, "It's not for you." Who needs that yucky stuff for dinner when there are fresh baked cookies, cake, pies and candy all over the place. Mom always turns her back or leaves the kitchen for awhile. Then, I strike. Heh, heh, Mom needs eyes in the back of her head to keep track of me.
Mom does catch me snitching goodies sometimes. When she does, she scolds me, washes me up, and puts me into the other room. I try to be good for awhile, but then I forget. Then I get into the cat's food. Mom really hates that, but not as much as Fluffy does. I'm not afraid of no kitty, but Fluffy is sure scared of me. I especially like to catch her when she's drinking out of the toilet. As she leans into the bowl to get a drink, I sneak up and knock her in. Boy does she hate that!
I don't know why I'm not allowed to eat the cat food. If it's good enough for Fluffy, why not me too? Fluffy gets to drink out of the toilet, but I can't. Darn cat even drinks from the tree water. I should try that sometime.
Christmas tree water would be hard to get to now, because there's so many pretty boxes stuffed underneath the tree. There are big boxes, little boxes, and in-between sized boxes, and all of them are wrapped with pretty bright paper with colorful bows and ribbons. So much stuff. I wonder what's in there? I tried to peek a few times, but Dad caught me and warned me not to spoil everyone's surprise. That was when Dad was putting most of those boxes under the tree. He didn't think I was awake, but I was.
Late last night, after everyone but Mom was asleep, Dad brought in a whole bunch of boxes and put them under the Christmas tree. He and Mom seemed real happy, and sang songs as they arranged the presents under the tree. Later, Mom went off to bed, but not before leaving milk and cookies on the coffee table. She told Dad they were for Santa Claus. Dad just chuckled, and chased Mom up the stairs. Once again, I struck with lightening speed, trying to tear the paper off the first box I could get to. That's when Dad returned.
After Dad scolded me, he smacked me on the rear end and sent me to bed. But I snuck back a little later. Who can sleep with all that good stuff lying around, just waiting to be played with? By me!
As I crept towards the mountain of presents under the tree, I remembered the cookies Mom had left. I didn't know who this Santa Claus was, and I didn't care. Those cookies were mine. Mmmmmm, chocolate chip. I just love chocolate chip cookies. I did what any self-respecting chocolate chip cookie lover would do; I ate them.
Just as I was finishing off the last of the cookies, I got such a scare that I almost choked. From out of nowhere, a big, fuzzy, white guy all dressed in red grabbed me by the ear. He spoke with a voice as deep as a mineshaft...
"Ho, ho, ho, so you've eaten all my cookies."
I thought that I was a goner, soon to be murdered by a funny looking burglar. So young, so full of promise... I never even got to open the pretty presents.
My fears were eased as he continued to speak.
"No matter, I've had enough chocolate chip cookies tonight to last till next Christmas. Besides, a growing young fella like you needs a good cookie more than I. Come here and give old Santa a hand."
Santa? So this must be that Santa Claus fellow. What a piece of work! He was only about half as high as Dad, but just as wide as he was tall. He had a pudgy but jolly face, with rosy red cheeks and a bright red button nose. His long hair and beard were white like snow and he had a big round belly, kinda like mine after I've eaten too much. He wore a bright red coat and pants with white fur around the edges. His belt and his boots were black like Dad's bowling ball, and shined like a mirror. He wore a funny looking red hat on his head, with a white fuzzball on the tip. Dad has a hat like that.
Over his shoulder was a great red canvas sack, filled to the brim with pretty boxes, just like the ones Dad had placed under the tree earlier. He tossed the sack to the floor, and began to remove boxes and place them under the tree, right along side the others. I helped as much as I could, and wondered if Santa had brought anything for me. Santa seemed to read my mind.
"Of course I brought something for you. You've been a good fella this year, even if you did eat my cookies. Just be patient, and wait until the whole family can open their gifts together."
With that, Santa gathered his things and stood near the fireplace. He gave me a wink as he put a thumb to his nose, then he was gone in a rush of red light and fairy dust. "Cool", I thought to myself.
Santa's advice to be patient stayed in my mind. I didn't forget. Since it was almost daylight, I curled up near the biggest present and drifted off to sleep. Wouldn't everyone be surprised when they awoke?
When Mom gently shook me awake, the whole family was up and gathered around the tree. The glow of the brightly-lit Christmas tree was reflected in the anxious faces of everyone. When can we open our presents, Mom? It's time! Everyone is beginning to open their presents. I wonder what I got? Isn't this Christmas stuff wild?
But wait. I didn't get anything for anybody else. I should have realized. But it's not too late, while everyone is busy opening their presents, I'll just sneak under the tree and leave a present of my own. There, I made it. Careful now Oh oh, Mom spotted me.
"Sam! What are you doing under that tree? Oh, honey! Look what that darn dog did under the Christmas tree."
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