Homemade Christmas 9


“Merry Christmas, everyone! Breakfast is ready!” Grandpa shouted knocking loudly on all the bedroom doors.

“We’re coming!” they shouted back. It was a Christmas Day tradition. No one came out of their rooms until breakfast was ready. Grandma, Mrs. Mahogany and Mrs. Browne took turns each year making the special Christmas breakfast.

This year Grandma was making her famous Christmas cranberry pancakes. They had been smelling the pancakes while they waited just inside their doors. Except this year the waiting was easier because they all had their notebooks to keep them busy.

The six kids hurried out carrying their notebooks. “Look Rose, on this page that you wrote ‘Special Memories’ on. I wrote all about last night, the sleigh ride, singing carols in the snow storm, the sleigh picnic, the game and all about these super cool notebooks. I did it while we were waiting to come out for breakfast.” Pine said showing her what he had written.

“That’s great! Look, we were drawing clothes this morning also. We each got four pages of clothes drawn. Later today we’ll color them and cut them out. Then we can play with our great paper dolls.”

“Those are cute.” Oak said peering over her shoulder. “I put all the pictures I brought with me in my notebook this morning. That is when Bud let me.” Oak grinned.

“I climbed a mountain with eight dogs and then played in the park. We played dog tag.”

“Yes, and he’s been driving us nuts trying to come up with names for all those dogs.” Oak added. “And barking! Those dogs bark a lot.” Oak laughed as Bud ran ahead of them with a little collie dog in his hand, barking furiously.

“We started a list for him.” Pine said walking into the kitchen behind Bud. “I wrote down every single dog, what type it is and as he decided on a name we wrote that down next to the dog. Now he can keep track of all of them.” Pine laughed sitting down at the table.

“These smell fantastic, Grandma!” Oak said putting four large cranberry pancakes on his plate. It was the last thing anyone said for a while as they ate the hot pancakes with homemade cinnamon jelly melted on them. Even Bud forgot about barking as he ate pancake after pancake.

“I’m stuffed!” Grandpa said patting his full stomach.

“So am I! Pine and Oak said at the same time following Grandpa’s lead and patting their own full stomachs.

“I’m not!” Bud said slowly swallowing his last bite. “I could eat a hundred more.”

“I think you’ve had enough.” Mrs. Browne laughed taking his empty plate away. “Besides don’t you think you should go and see what Santa Claus left for you?”

“Oh, wow!” Bud said loudly. “I completely forgot about the gifts from Santa Claus.”

“I didn’t forget!” Blossom said crossly. “I was just waiting for the rest of you to get done eating.” she slid down off her chair and without looking at anyone else hurried to the living room.

“She did too, forget!” Rose laughed. “She didn’t remember until it was mentioned. She just doesn’t want any of us to think that she forgot about presents. Usually that’s the only thing she thinks about on Christmas morning.” They all laughed as they followed Blossom.

“I did notice that she didn’t forget her horse doll. She grabbed that and her notebook.” Sunflower said softly walking into the living room.

“Super cool!” Pine said looking at the gifts packed under the tree.

“Everyone find a spot and sit down and I’ll start handing all these packages out.” Mr. Browne said making his way past the kids towards the tree. Blossom and Bud scrambled to sit as close to him as they could that way they wouldn’t have to wait for the packages to be handed around the entire room to them.

Mr. Browne reached under the tree and pulled out the first wrapped box. “Elm!” he said handing the box to Oak, who handed it to Sunflower who passed it on to her father.

“A new wallet! It’s a real beaut.” he exclaimed opening it. “Thanks, Grandma, Grandpa! My old one is really ragged I really needed a new one.” Meanwhile Mr. Browne continued handing out packages.
“This one says to Bud from Santa Claus! I wonder what it is?” he asked curiously handing Bud the large box.

“A truck! Look, Blossom a truck.” Bud shouted tossing the crinkled paper to the side. “It has a fence around the back. My dogs can ride in it and not fall out.” he quickly opened his notebook and pulled out all the little dogs and piled them in the back of his new truck. “It’s a dog truck!” he said proudly pushing it in a circle around him. Not one of his little dogs fell out. “This is so cool.” he said echoing his older cousin.

“Wow. Thanks Uncle Elm and Aunt Violet.” Oak said sounding so surprised that everyone stopped opening their own gifts to look over at him.

“What did you get, Oak?” Rose asked sitting up on her knees to get a better look.

“It’s for my camera, right?” Oak answered looking at his Uncle to make sure he was right.

“Yes, I knew you liked to take pictures I just didn’t realize until I was helping Sunflower with the notebook how good you are. This is a docking, printer system for your camera. You won’t have to use your Dad’s computer all the time now. You can still store your pictures on the computer like you do now, but if there is a picture you want to print you just put your camera on here.” he moved closer to show Oak how to do it. “Then this will print your pictures, and while it’s printing it will also recharge the camera’s batteries.”

“Wow!” Oak said again studying the booklet that came with the camera dock. “This is fantastic.” He quietly scooted back against the wall while the rest continued to open their presents.

“Mom, Dad, Look! Uncle Cedar and Aunt Pansy gave me a real pen and pencil set. Not plastic ones like I usually use. These are real ones like Dad’s.” Pine held up the black box with a silver pen and pencil set in it. “These are so super cool. Look how great it writes!” he said to whoever was listening as he opened his notebook and found the page he had been writing on earlier. He finished the page by listing all the gifts he got and who gave them to him. “Wow.” he didn’t want to stop writing, he loved using his Father’s good pens but he had only been allowed to use them once or twice, now he had his very own set.

“Blossom, Rose, Look what I got from Santa Claus!” Sunflower squealed opening a large wooden box with a bright yellow handle. Inside the box was everything you would want for drawing paper doll clothes. There were pencils, erasers, every color marker, colored pencils, crayons and a small pair of scissors. Everything fit snugly inside the cover, held in place by little elastic bands. The other side of the box had a stack of paper also held securely by an elastic band.

“I got one too!” Rose said excitedly. “Mine has a pink handle.” she held it up to show Sunflower.

“My handle is red. Look at all these markers and crayons. We can draw all kinds of things.” Blossom said pulling out different colors and putting them back in their own special place.

“What are these for?” Sunflower asked pulling out two strips of wood from inside the box. They were hinged securely to one side and tucked along the inside edge so well that none of them had noticed them until Sunflower found them.

“Let’s see!” Mr. Mahogany said sitting down between Sunflower and Blossom. “If you look at the other side of the box you’ll see there are notches on the sides. If you put this in those different notches the top becomes an easel for drawing. There’s even a little tray on the front to keep your papers from sliding off or to hold a pencil.” He showed them how to put the braces at different heights so they would have different angles on the easel.

“It’s the best thing ever.” the three girls said trying it out at different heights and angles until they found the one they liked best.

When the last present had been unwrapped Mrs. Mahogany said “Maybe we should all get dressed now and then we can really enjoy our new gifts.” She stood up her arms filled with her presents. “I can’t wait to start my new jigsaw puzzle from Bud, Rose and Oak. It looks really hard. I love putting together really difficult ones. Thank you kids.” she showed everyone the box with a white and blue snowy landscape on it.

“I love my new brushes, Pine, Sunflower and Blossom. An artist never has enough brushes and I didn’t have any really small ones like these. They will be great for painting ornaments for next year.” She smiled at them showing off the tiny little bristles on the new brushes.

Before they went to get dressed they all examined everyone else’s gifts and made sure they had thanked everyone for what they had gotten. There was the usual assortment of new socks, mittens, clothes, toys, books and games for the kids. Sweaters, shirts, wallets, ties, jewelry and books for the adults. There were candy canes, small toys, games and an apple in everyone’s stockings. Once everything had been discovered and there were no more surprises or gifts anywhere they all started towards the bedrooms to get dressed. “Wait a minute.” Oak called squatting down next to the wall. “Can you all wait just a minute?” he said excitedly looking down at his camera sitting in his new dock. Everyone watched fascinated as picture after picture slid out of the machine. “I took some pictures while everyone was unwrapping their presents. I really wanted to try this and see how it works. There was an outlet here with nothing plugged into it so I used it.” Oak announced proudly handing out the pictures.

“That’s us getting our drawing boxes.” Rose said comparing her picture with Sunflower and Blossom.

“That’s my new shirt.” Mr. Browne said taking the picture Oak handed him.

“Hey, you’re never too old to play!” Grandpa laughed showing everyone the picture of him wearing his new sweater over his pajamas and playing with Bud’s new truck.

“Well, look at this, I was putting on my new earrings from all the kids.” Grandma beamed holding up the picture. “These are wonderful pictures, Oak.” she said starting to hand it back to him.

“You can keep the pictures. I still have them in the camera and can make more copies of them. I wanted everyone to have at least one picture from this morning.” he said proudly unplugging his new dock and carefully setting it up on a table so no one would step on it.

“Mom?” Pine whispered as he waited for Bud and Blossom to run down the hallway.

“Yes, Pine.” Mrs. Mahogany said, her arms filled with gifts.

“I thought we wouldn’t be getting any presents this year? I thought with Dad not having a job only Blossom and Bud would get presents?”

Mrs. Mahogany laughed gently. “It wouldn’t be Christmas without presents. Most of them were bought quite a while ago. I’ve always bought things when I find them, that way it isn’t such a rush at Christmas time. We can’t get you kids things like your friend Rocky gets but there will always be something.” she said hugging him tight.

“This was the best Christmas ever, and I bet Rocky isn’t having as much fun as we are.” Pine grinned following Oak towards the bedroom.

The rest of the day passed in a flurry of activity. They went to visit other relatives right after lunch, then the afternoon was spent playing with their new gifts and going outside to make snowmen and angels in the deep snow. They ate a wonderful supper of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and apple pie. Then it was time for everyone to go home.

“We’ll come over tomorrow to draw some more clothes for our paper dolls.” Sunflower and Blossom promised Rose helping her carry all her gifts out to her parent’s car.

“I’m going to go on a winter hike around the neighborhood tomorrow and see if I can find some interesting winter things to put in my notebook.” Pine told Oak. “If you want to come along and take some pictures we can do some real exploring.”

“Sounds great.” Oak agreed loading the last of their Grandparent’s presents and suitcases into their car for them.

“I’d go but I have to play with my dogs!” Bud announced suddenly much to Pine and Oak’s relief. They would have taken the little boy with them if he had really wanted to go, but it would be much easier to find things without having to watch him.

“We could maybe draw some things for Bud’s dogs.” Rose said winking at Bud. “Do they need jackets for the cold weather?” she asked.

“Like the ones real dogs wear?” he nodded excitedly.

“We can do that.” Sunflower agreed. “And you can color them any way you want to, Bud.” she told him as he scrambled into the car holding his notebook tightly.

The final few days of Christmas vacation were spent working on their notebooks. On the final day the six kids met in Oak’s bedroom to show each other what they had done. “I have almost all my pages filled with pictures from Christmas and these last few days.” Oak said paging through his notebook. “Dad said he would get me more of these pages so I’ll soon have a really full notebook.

Oh, Blossom I almost forgot. I made copies for everyone but I have a special one for you.” He reached into the back of his notebook and pulled out some pictures. He handed out pictures of them all eating on the sleigh, singing carols and one of Barnaby pulling the sleigh that Oak had taken from between Mr. Castle and Blossom.

“Here’s one just for you.” he handed Blossom the picture.

“Oh, Oak!” she whispered. “I was thanking Barnaby for the great Christmas.” she hugged the picture then held it up so the others could see it. In the picture Grandpa was holding her up and she was whispering in the large horse’s ear. “I can really keep this?” she asked. Oak nodded. “I’m going to put it in one of my little pockets in my notebook so I always have it.” she said pulling out a pile of bright clothes and tucking the picture in the first pocket next to the little horse paper doll.

“We made  tons of clothes for our flowers, Blossom’s animals and for Bud’s dogs.” Sunflower said showing the boys all the things they had made.

“I have most of my winter pages filled in, and Mom sewed me a cloth pocket for my pen and pencil set, out of the same material on my notebook so I won’t lose them.” he showed them the pocket on the front of his notebook. “It has a snap on it so they can’t fall out.”

“Sunflower, Rose and Blossom helped me name more of my dogs!” Bud interrupted Pine. “Now I have almost all of them named. See.” he showed them the list Pine and Oak had started for him. There were still about a dozen dogs without names but he was right, most of the little dogs had names. “I’m taking my notebook to school tomorrow for show and tell. My teacher said we could all bring in one special Christmas present to show everyone else. I’m taking my dogs to school.” Bud said tucking his list back into one of the pockets and sat moving his little dogs from page to page barking softly.

“Me, too,” Blossom nodded. “I’m taking Barnaby Horse, Jumper Rabbit, Stripes Zebra and Sparky Dog and now I have a picture of the real Barnaby to show everyone.”

“I’m taking mine to school also. We don’t have show and tell but I want to show it to my teacher. He might have some more suggestions about what I should be collecting. Dad said he could make different pages for me if my teacher has some different suggestions for it.” Pine told the others.

“Yeah, before Christmas vacation I had been talking to my teacher about photography and she said I should do something for the school’s spring arts, science and career fair. You know, anyone can set up a booth and show off their hobbies, adults come in and talk about different careers so we can ask them questions about what we might want to do when we get out of school. She said I could show some of my pictures and talk to other kids that might be interested in taking pictures. There will be professional photographers there also and I can talk to them and maybe show them some of my pictures.”

“That sounds like a great idea. I’ll talk to my teacher about it maybe I can put my notebook in the science part. It is kind of sciencey with the leaves and things. If I add more facts about the stuff I have then it would qualify as science. That would be so super cool.” Pine said enthusiastically.

“I wish we could show our notebooks, but paper dolls don’t fit in either science or photography.” Rose said as she finished coloring another outfit for her rose doll.

“They are art.” Oak pointed out. “We made the dolls out of material and you guys drew all the clothes yourself. You should ask your teacher if they would fit in the art classification.”

“We will, right away tomorrow morning.” Sunflower and Rose said looking down at their paper dolls and clothes. They were art!

next week the 10th and final chapter Back to School

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