A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

It was the perfect description of that state: a calm before the storm.

Hannah stood by the stairs and watched everything from a very commanding perspective. Below her was the vast expanse that is the living room, and every little detail was lying there for her to see – the Christmas tree decked with colorful Christmas lights and an assortment of decorations ranging from candy canes and miniature bells and fake leaves and fruits and plastic snowflakes situated on a corner near the main door, the several-years old couch showing signs of wear and tear, covered with fluffy throw pillows and some books and parts of a recently-read newspaper. On the floor are a wide gamut of toys, gadgets, tools and almost every other random thing strewn in this hodgepodge of a living room.

And moving up and about and around these things are Hannah’s relatives.

Some of them are moving from point A to point B, with something specific in mind, like going to the kitchen to get something to eat or drink. Others are flooding the living room fresh from the December atmosphere that greeted them outside – usually the aunts, the uncles and the cousins ready to give a hug and a kiss.

This is the prelude to a storm. Once everyone is here and once everything is settled, the raucous activities begin.

This is the sign of Christmas every year for Hannah and her family. She stood there, watching as everything unveil, half hoping she can stay there for an extended period of time and watch all of these from start to end. Unfortunately for her, she has to take her place in this annual hobnobbing. And it starts with a cue:

“Hannah, come down here and help me with these,” Hannah’s mom has a voice superior enough to overpower the already drowning noise of human conversation and ambient music playing through the stereo sound system. I guess that is what mothers are made of, Hannah chuckled at the thought.

Hannah would obediently act as ordered – she was never the type to throw tantrums or throw a fit or be difficult especially in times when her help is needed. But she took a deep long inhale and then let it out in one heave, knowing that soon enough, she would be sucked in this delirious vacuum of human activity. Soon, she would become part of this whirlwind of arms and bodies and legs going here and there, and voices intermingling with one another it is hard to decipher what was actually happening.

But for now, the calm before the storm.

Hannah looks at the wall clock. It chimed four thirty in the afternoon.

Several more hours of sanity, Hannah quipped, as she slowly unpack the grocery bag brought in.

Stressful and tedious it may be, but this is Christmas for her and her family, and she is happy to have one. Hannah closed her eyes for a bit, savoring with contentment the experience which she knows will be with her for several years more. And then everything will change, for her and for her family.

But for now, this is home. Everything is normal as it should be.


Writing a fictitious story or prose about a particular experience I remember during Christmas holidays has told me a lot of things. First, it has showed me that using prose – or even a poem, despite their innate differences – is an excellent way not just to immortalize important memories, but it also acts as a catharsis. You are able to exhale your thoughts and feelings both positive and negative through a character you created which represents who you are or a part of you, without feeling guilty and without having to explain yourself to anyone. Secondly, this shows that writing prose can be fun and that it is not a boring exercise as what others usually perceive, especially when they hear the words “write” or “writing.”

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