St. Nicolas: The Environmentalist

As Christmas approaches, people can forget the true meaning behind the holiday. Of course this is a Christian-based holiday, but more importantly it is a holiday made for celebrating family, giving, joy, spirit, and love. Christmas was my favorite holiday as a child because of everything that Christmas brought with it, not just the gifts:

Hundreds of special edition “Santa” soda cans were strung together as they weaved through the living room, cans we had collected since the previous Christmas to decorate with. Little German stockings hung on the back wall. The aroma of pumpkin pie and homemade icing filled the house as my mother prepared treats to leave for Santa. This was the first time my Uncle and Grandpa were both in town for Christmas with us. My uncle (Lonnie) was stationed in Florida with the Navy, and my Grandpa lived in Utah. To have them there to celebrate Christmas was a gift in itself, something I appreciated even at the age of 8.

“Monster attack!!! Run Austin, run!” I managed to scream out to my brother through my laughter. Lonnie whipped around the corner, his hands arched in the air ready to attack for wrestling and tickling. Tears stained Austin’s cheeks as well as mine from laughing so hard. Pain ran up my side as my laughter grew louder.

The cuckoo clock chirped for the night to end. Austin and I crawled into bed, anticipating the morning to come. My eyes grew heavy, but my heart still raced for Christmas morning to come. My eyelids grew heavier, and my body finally stopped fighting the tiredness that had been forcing its way in. Reindeer jingled through the sky as Christmas swept into my dreams.

As my eyes slowly opened, a rush of anticipation took over as I leapt out of bed as quietly as possible. I ran over to Austin’s room and shook him awake, whispering “Austin, it’s Christmas!” We knew that presents couldn’t start until everyone was awake, so we stood outside of my Grandpa’s door to wake him. Austin was only 4, so I thought I could convince him to wake him up. He might have been 4, but he unfortunately was smart enough to know better.

We continued tip-toeing down the hall, barely able to keep from giggling as the excitement increased. Smiles took over as we stopped in the living room. The only light in the room came from our trees flashing lights. Stuffed stockings lay on the floor, waiting to be dumped by us all over the clean carpet. Presents glimmered as the tree lights reflected off of the wrapping paper. The plate that was once filled with homemade treats for Santa was empty, resting next to an empty glass. Austin and I sat and watched the lights as we waited for everyone to awake. As I sat on the floor and waited, all I could think was “this is the best Christmas ever.” To this day, it truly was.

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