TITLE: An Upside-Down Christmas (1/20/2014)
By Joanne Sher
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Don't be gentle - I can take it!
An Upside-Down Christmas
Annika loved everything about Christmas. The tree, covered with lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Presents beneath it, wrapped in beautiful paper with sparkling bows. Christmas carols. The stockings. The nativity scenes. Everything.
As soon as the first snowflake fell (usually in November), Annika got anxious, excited, and bouncy. She knew Christmas would be perfect just like always and she couldn't wait.
But this year, Annika wasn't so sure. It was already Christmas Eve, and it hadn't snowed. No carolers had come. It just felt different. Still, Christmas was Christmas, and she went to bed that night, a kiss from mama on her head, with anticipation.
Christmas morning, as usual, she was up first. She ran out to the tree, and her smile turned upside-down. It was gone! Instead, a pile of ornaments, tinsel, and lights lay on the floor. But then she looked up, and she found the tree trunk on the ceiling and branches hanging down, with presents dangling from its limbs.
How could this be? Even the nativity scene was mixed up. Joseph was scrunched into the manger, Mary was perched atop the stable, and baby Jesus was holding a shepherd's crook and leaning against a lamb. And who knew where the angel was?
A hand rested on her shoulder. Her parents stood behind her, mouths agape.
Annika turned around. What happened?
Mama shrugged. Hmmm.... John, did you remember to pay the gravity bill last week?
Daddy slapped his head. I knew I forgot something! Now we'll have to wait until the office opens to get everything back to normal. He knelt down, placing his hand under Annika's chin. I'm sorry, precious.
It's all right, Daddy. I know this won't be a perfect Christmas, but I know we'll never ever forget it. And she smiled as wide as the morning was strange.
And Annika was right. They would never forget that upside-down Christmas, when they sat under the Christmas tree (instead of around it), reached up for their presents, had dessert first, and ate breakfast for dinner.
And Daddy never, EVER forgot to pay the gravity bill again.
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