Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)
TITLE: I'm Dreaming of a "Pottery Barn" Christmas
By Kristen Hester
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I thought of the house I visited last night. My husband’s boss had our family over for dinner. In Pamela Mason’s house we were greeted with a crackling fire that blazed in a huge fireplace. Gold monogrammed stockings hung from a mantel lined with real greenery and adorned with lit gold candles. Fearful a flying football would topple a candle and burn down our house, I had never even lit my candles.
“Mom,” my son, Bradley, called as he burst into the room, leaving a trail of glitter behind him. “Look what I made you.” My kindergarten Picasso proudly displayed a...um...well, I wasn’t sure what it was, but I had a feeling he was going to want it hung on my Christmas tree.
“Oh, beautiful,” I said as I reached for it, sinking my thumb into a glob of wet glue and glitter.
“It’s the star of Bethlehem. I want to put it on that tree,” he said as he pointed a sticky finger at my beautiful eight-foot, pre-lit evergreen with perfectly positioned and coordinated ornaments. “Not the kid tree.”
“Of course, sweetie,” I answered, surrendering to his innocent blue eyes. I was weak. Every year it was the same. When the kids requested that their decorated toilet paper rolls and fun foam ornaments be hung on the living room tree, rather than the one I put up just for them in the playroom, I always obliged. I was fearful a denial would crush their little spirits and begin a chain of events that would somehow hold me responsible for them one day living in a cardboard box.
I helped Bradley hang his star front and center on my tree and recalled Pamela Mason’s twelve-foot rotating tree graced with large golden ornaments and sighed.
My covetous thoughts were interrupted when Bradley noticed the unpacked box that held our nativity scene. “Hey, it’s the manger scene! I want to find Baby Jesus.” He ran to the box and started rummaging through shredded newspaper.
Nathan heard his younger brother and joined the search. “I bet I can find him first.” Both boys speedily unwrapped the figurines, revealing a headless shepherd, a three-legged lamb and a one-winged angel. It was the boy’s favorite Christmas decoration, and it was well worn in contrast to Pamela’s costly Llardo nativity scene.
My husband came in the room. “Awww,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me. “This room looks great.”
“You’re just saying that,” I replied doubtfully. “It’s nothing compared to the Mason’s house.”
Three sets of male eyes stared at me in disbelief.
“Are you kidding? Our home is way better,” Nathan said.
I wasn’t really surprised that my men wouldn’t prefer the magazine-perfect house to ours. And even I had to admit the atmosphere had been a little tense at the Mason house. When Nathan spied the three-foot white statues of Christmas carolers, my motherly instinct recognized the visions of storm troopers dancing in his eyes. I quickly informed my little Skywalker they were carolers, not Empire enemies and confiscated the light saber he had hidden under his shirt. The Mason house was not decorated for active and imaginative little boys.
Threats of coal-filled stockings and bribes of ice cream cones had been issued to ensure my rambunctious off-spring didn’t do too much damage to the elegant home. They’d been on their best behavior, but looked miserable most of the night. Then there was the awkward moment when Nathan grabbed Mr. Mason’s hand anticipating a pre-meal blessing. Evidently, thanking God for His provisions was not a Mason family ritual.
Yes, I thought with satisfaction, our home was way better than the Mason’s expensive home.
“I have Jesus!” Bradley suddenly yelled out, victoriously holding the tiny ceramic figure in the air.
I smiled at Bradley’s words. Who needed Pottery Barn? We had Jesus, and that’s all our home really needed for a perfect Christmas.
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