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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Itís Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: What Generation Gap?
By Micheline Murray


"Ssshh," Wendy whispered, "we can't wake Mom and Dad!" At three a.m. on Christmas morning, my older sister was right! We were allowed to go through our stockings anytime we woke after midnight, under the conditions that we stayed in our room and didn't wake up anyone else. (Being a teenager, our older brother was much more interested in sleeping than stockings). Then, our curiosity satisfied for the time being, we would go back to sleep until daylight.

Smiling, I open one eye and try to bring the blurred numbers on my digital clock into focus~ two a.m. I can hear my own girls' whispered giggles from their bedroom across the hall as I drift back to sleep. The last thing I hear is my older daughter Sarah's voice, "Ssshh...don't wake up Mom and Dad!"

Still wearing our new candy cane earrings from Woolworth's that they let us open the night before to help tide our anxious six and ten year old hearts over until morning, we prepared to open the contents of the stockings that Santa had quietly placed at the foot of our beds.

"Me first, please...please...please?" I begged Wendy. "Okay, she said, "but dump everything out on the bed first." This was a vital part of the traditional stocking-opening process. We knew from experience that we would open identical things. It was important to lay everything out; that way, when it was your turn to open second, you knew what you were about to open!

"Can I go first, PLEASE?" I barely heard my younger daugher Colleen plead with Sarah, four years her senior. I once again peered at the numbers glowing in the dark...five minutes after two. "Okay," she answered, "but you have to be quiet. Let's dump our stockings out together, ready? One, two, three!"

"Ooh! Look at the pretty paper!" I exclaimed, turning the tiny packages over in my hands. I, of course, hadn't seen this paper during all of the last month's gift wrapping, as Mom always bought different wrap for everything that was from Santa.

"Just open something!" Wendy may have been older, but she was just as eager as I was. She was eyeing a cylinder-shaped object, and squealed when I opened mine. "Yes! Bonnie Bell lip gloss! Wait, what flavor did you get? Oh- bubble gum!" All the while she was tearing into her own, "Alright, strawberry!" (Strawberry was a much more grown-up flavor than bubble-gum when it came to lip gloss).

"I got peppermint; what did you get?" Sarah's voice filtered through their closed door. Paper tearing, then "Sugar cookies, my favorite!" from Colleen as they opened their Avon lip balms. With great effort my weary eyelid once again opened...two-fifteen. Good, they must be finished. I rolled over and sank back into a deep, restful sleep.

"Santa didn't really have to wrap this one," I laughed as we opened our last stocking stuffer together, "he always brings us a Life Saver Storybook!" We feverishly broke into our ten rolls of Life Savers, crunching away on the wild cherry, butter rum and pep-o-mint candies until we could take no more of the sticky sweetness.

"Hey! These are Gummy Life Savers--they're chewy!" Colleen announced as the girls reached the end of their stockings. "These'll get stuck in my braces." said Sarah. "Oh well, it's Christmas!"

With scraps of wrapping paper littering the bed and floor, and stockings awkwardly re-stuffed with the just opened treasures, the lights were turned out and two young girls snuggled back to sleep for a few more hours. Soon it would be time to wake again, to light the Christ candle on the Advent wreath and put Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity. It would be time to smell coffee as Mom and Dad woke, to peek into the living room and see what Santa brought, and to finally open those packages that had been examined, shaken and listened to for weeks. but for a little while longer, the house would once again be still on this Christmas morning.

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This article has been read 458 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marlene Austin12/06/08
Once I caught the form of changing time-frames with paragraphs my confusion cleared. Nice job with the comparisons/contrasts between the "young" narrator's experiences and the narrator's daughters'. :)
Catrina Bradley 12/09/08
I really enjoyed this piece. I love the excitement you wrote into the girls voices, and mom had such a sense of peace about her. The back-and-forth didn't confuse me. Good writing!
Catrina Bradley 12/09/08
I just realized that you had two things going on here - the MC in the past experiencing her own Christmas, and the MC in the present listening to her daughters enjoying the tradition passed down to them. I like it even better now. :)
Karlene Jacobsen12/10/08
I didn't catch the connection between Christmas past and present the first couple times through, I had to really focus on the names of the girls; but I'm usually the last one to catch joke.
This was delightful.
Pamela Kliewer12/10/08
It didn't take me long to catch the back and forth... what a wonderful story! Love it. I, too, loved the excitement you captured in the girls. Well done.
Betty Castleberry12/10/08
You took me back a few years. We always got to open our stockings whenever we wanted, too, and they often had Life Savers story books in them.

This was charming, and I could see it all happening.
Deborah Porter 12/12/08
Micheline, I just wanted to let you know that you did very well in the Challenge this week. Even though you didn't quite make it into the winners' circle, you made it into the highest rankings for Level 2, placing 8th for the level.

If you would like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can see them here:


With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)