This story is dedicated to my grandma,
who always knows just what to do to make me happy.
The Magic of Christmas Snow
That one looks like a star … and that one looks like a crystal medallion … and that one—
“Alex, would you like to come away from the window long enough too have some hot chocolate and cookies?” Grandma hollered from the kitchen found in a room just around the corner from where I was sitting with my knees snuggled deep into the plush green couch and my nose growing cold from being pressed up against the wintered glass of grandma’s window. I immediately sprung free of the couch and ran to the kitchen, where I found grandma slowly pulling out another batch of steaming-hot chocolate chip cookies from the top oven. Mmmm … the smell of chocolate was so thick in the air that it seemed as if I could eat it! Grandma had her once-blonde hair pulled back, neatly twisted and secured with a red and green Christmas comb. As she turned around with her hands full of steaming hot chocolate chip cookies I could see that she had on the cooking apron I made her last year. It had bright imprints of my hands all over it with big Xs and Os followed by my signature.
“You still wear the apron I made for you?” I asked, grinning with delight.
“Oh yes, Alex, this is my special cookie-making apron,” Grandma said with her blue eyes sparkling in a way that only grandma eyes do. “Come sit over here. I’ve poured you up some hot chocolate; it should be cool enough to drink now. Here are some banana-flavored marshmallows to make it extra special for my extra special granddaughter.” Grandma gave me a squeeze and a kiss.
“Grandma, I’m your only granddaughter!” I said while crinkling my nose.
“That, among many other things, is what makes you extra special to me.” Grandma said with another hug and a wink.
I love coming to Grandma’s house in the winter. There is something special about the snow in Colorado. Sometimes the snow coating over the house grandma lives in is so perfect that it does not look real. It had been snowing since I had arrived two days before, so the blanket of snow over the farmland looked like twinkling, heavenly clouds that kissed the blue Colorado sky.
“Grandma, I called out impulsively, can I go out and play today? I’ll be careful and bundle up well so I don’t catch a winter cold.” I promised.
“I don’t see why not,” Grandma said, “It would do you good to run off some of that fidgeting energy you have been storing up! But stay close to the house just in case another storm blows in.”
Before Grandma could finish her words, I was halfway up the stairs to my room to put on my fur parka, black ski pants, mittens, and boots. I knew I would miss my best friend Elena, so I had brought my dollfriend that looks like Elena with me to keep me company. She has a fur jacket, white mittens, and black ski pants just like mine!
With my Elena dollfriend® carefully prepared, I sprung out the back door, Elena in hand, and leaped into what looked like a big cloud of snow. It caught us gently and made a crunching sound as I swung my arms and legs, making my first snow angel. Elena needed some help with her angel, but I didn’t mind. I like helping her; it makes me feel like a big sister. I was carefully moving her legs and then her arms, all the while thinking how wonderful it would be if she could actually talk to me. Do you think she would like making snow angels? Or maybe she’d rather stay inside and eat cookies with Grandma. I wonder what her favorite color would be or if she likes the clothes I put on her or how I style her hair. Sometimes I feel so much love for her that I pray she could really hear me. Grandma says that my dollfriend is real, as real as I wish her to be. I can care for her, tell her secrets, make things for her, we sleep together and she always smiles at me in the best way!
Christmas was just around the corner, and orange and pink Via-E boxes were already wrapped in green and red paper just waiting to be put under the Christmas tree. It would be so cool if she could open the presents up herself. I wonder if miracles ever happen. You know, Pinocchio, Frosty, the Nutcracker … they all came to life why not Elena? I thought to myself. Then I looked at the glistening snow angel I had created and said aloud, “Why not Elena?”
“Well, Miss Christmas Snow Angel, I continued with my most heart-felt request, what do you think? A miracle for my dollfriend Elena and me?”
I placed Elena on her snow angel and then laid back down on mine and began swinging my arms and legs so fast that I was digging deeper and deeper into the lightly packed snow. My eyes were closed tight, and with every inch of my being, I wished. Then I slowly opened my eyes, turned my head to look at Elena, and … nothing. Her eyes were closed and her arms were still spread out as I had last left them. I plopped back down atop my angel, my hands falling behind me to catch my fall, and ouch! Something stung my hand right through my winter gloves.
What’s this? I thought. A small, pointy thing was poking out of the snow ever so slightly. Now curious, I started to dig, revealing a silver star strung onto a red ribbon. I started to pull it free from its snowy bed, and I saw it had a clasp. It was a bracelet! Wait! There was another red ribbon! I started to pull on it. This one was longer … it popped out of the show reveling that it had a clasp too, and another star! It was a necklace! A set! One for me and one for Elena! Oh, how fortunate was this? I thought with excitement.
The star was so beautiful. I opened the clasp on the necklace and reached back behind my neck to fasten the necklace onto myself. The necklace dropped to its resting place on my chest and I put my hand on top of it feeling rather special. My head was down when I first noticed the snow around me seemed to take on a soft blue-white glow. I quickly pushed myself up from the snow angel I was making to examine it from a distance. It was as if by magic, the snow angels Elena and I had made rose up from the ground and gracefully floated just above us. I rubbed my eyes and then took a second look. If it hadn’t been for the warm feeling I felt inside, I might have been really scared! Everything was happening so fast. Before I could utter a single word, my angel said,
“Hello, Alex, I am one of your guardian angels, and I have come to help you with your Christmas wish. Put the bracelet around Elena’s neck and she will come to life.”
“To life? You mean really to life? Walking, talking, laughing … to life?” I said in disbelief.
“Yes, Alex. Walking, talking, laughing, and loving, just as you wished. But only for you, and only until midnight tonight. Christmas morning, at the stroke of exactly twelve, Elena must come back home with us.”
“Elena is an Angel?” I could hardly believe the words coming out of my mouth.
“Yes, Alex, Elena is the guardian angel assigned to you when you were first born into this world. You can’t see her, but she has watched over you and brags to the other angels about all the wonderful things you do. She asked for a special exception to the rules. She asked to spend this Christmas Eve with you. Quickly, put the bracelet on your dollfriend, as you don’t have much time.”
I realized the angel was right, so I quickly placed the bracelet around Elena’s neck, forming a necklace, and then I moved back to watch the transformation.
At first there was nothing, but as I continued to look on, Elena’s face softened. Her perfectly pink lips spread into the warmest smile, and then she stretched out her legs and arms as if waking up from a long, satisfying afternoon nap. Her eyes opened slowly, revealing a deep cocoa brown so warm and beautiful; the kindness they contained enwrapped my very being.
“Elena?” I said softly.
“Hi, Alex!”, Elena said energetically.
Next, Elena started to make her very own snow angel. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. Finishing the snow angel, my Elena dollfriend jumped up, giggled, and plopped back down. Then she began to chatter,
“Don’t you love the snow at Grandma’s house? I love the snow! My favorite color is blue; I love the clothes you put on me, especially the Fashion Kitty T-shirt! I love to have my hair brushed, braided, put in pony tails, held with barrettes, you name it! I like that you play with me all the time even though I can’t talk back, and most of all I’m sooooo excited to see what present you bought me for Christmas!”
“Cooooool,” I said in astonishment.
“Tag, you’re it!” Elena reached over and pressed her hand against mine. It was soft and warm, just like mine. “If you don’t get up, you’ll never catch me, even with those long legs of yours!” Elena giggled and quickly made her way through the snow.
We played for hours. We built snowmen, had a snowball fight, sang Christmas carols, braided each other’s hair, talked about our favorite movies and music—best girlfriend things all day long. It was my best day ever!
Then as if it were a strange call from the wilds we heard grandma’s call,
Elena looked at me as if she had a funny question mark panted on her face. “What in the world?”
“That’s grandma’s signal to come home!” I explained to a confused Elena.
“Beaweet?” said Elena laughing.
Smiling, I explained the history of the strange call grandma used. “It has been handed down from generation to generation. Because the beaweet call is so unique and carries so far, our family uses it when out on the farm to call everyone back to the main house. Come, let’s hurry so Grandma doesn’t worry. I’ll race you back!” Taking me up on the challenge, Elena got the first start and then I quickly followed. We laughed the entire way back to Grandma’s house.
I cautiously opened the back door to find that Grandma was busy juggling pots and pans over the stove while she finished making dinner. I said hi to grandma and quickly made it up the stairs to my room with Elena in hand.
Now safely in my room I asked, “Are you hungry? Can you eat?”
“I’m so hungry I could eat a house!” Elena replied convincingly.
“Okay, I’ll ask grandma if I can have dinner and a movie in my room so we can eat and play together.” Off I went to the kitchen to negotiate what would become my special Christmas Eve dinner with Elena.
Grandma always understood me. She fixed a plate of candied ham, mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, and a big piece of Christmas pie.
“Grandma?” I said taking the tray from her hands, “Do you think I could have just a little bit more?”
“Really?” asked Grandma.
“Yes, I played really hard outside, so I’m a bit more hungry than usual.” I smiled in my best “Grandma I love you” way.
“Of course, sweetie, Grandma loves a girl with a good appetite!” Grandma then added one more scoop of everything. I kissed Grandmas’ cheek and was then off to share my dinner with Elena.
Eating dinner in my room with Elena was so fun. We laughed, told each other stories and had fun just being real friends. After returning the dishes to Grandma and kissing her goodnight, Elena and I climbed into our jammies, brushed our hair and teeth, and then snuggled into my bed to watch my new DVD of the movie Frozen.
“Elena?” I said,
“Yes, Alex,” Elena replied.
“Will you open your Christmas present early so I can see if you like it?”
With excitement, Elena leaped out of bed and said, “Oh yes! Go get it! Go get it!”
I remember that I quickly threw open my closet and then pulled out some shoes, then stuffed animals, then the dirty clothes hamper and finally—
”Here it is!” I announced.
After emerging from the depths of the closet, I placed two small boxes in Elena’s lap. “Just for you. Merry Christmas, Elena.” I kissed her cheek and then stepped back to watch Elena’s every move, every expression. I didn’t want to miss a thing. She tore into the red and green Christmas wrapping, exposing the pink and orange Via-E boxes—one for shoes and the other for clothes.
“Open the bigger one first!” I said.
Nodding, Elena opened up the larger box and pulled out a crisp white dress with a blue net skirt adorn with blue glittering dots. It had a wide silver belt that tied in a white bow in the back of the dress.
“Now the other box!” I urged Elena onward. The smaller box contained silver sandals with a big-girl sized heal. The sandals tied around the ankle with white ribbon bows. The perfect shoes to match the exquisitely girly dress.
That’s my Anniversary Dress! Mom made one for me and another one for you so we could be the same!
“Oh, Alex!” Elena said.
As I looked at her, I noticed that she had tiny tears dripping from her eyes.
“It couldn’t be more perfect. And you couldn’t be a more perfect best friend,” Elena whispered.
Wow, she is real, I thought to myself, and she does love me just like I love her.
We finished the night watching the movie until neither one of us could keep our eyes open any longer.
“Elena?,” I said with my eyes heavy and my mind ever so sleepy, “I want you to know that I will always take care of you and keep you by my side forever, and I will never forget the day you became real for me.”
Elena smiled, and then her warm cocoa-brown eyes slowly closed as she snuggled against me. She didn’t need to say anything, because we both knew whether she could talk or not, we would be best friends forever.
When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t tell if it was all a dream or if Elena was real for that one day. But what I can tell you is that year at Grandma’s house was my best holiday ever!
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