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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times


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Where Are You Christmas?


 “Seeing is believing, but sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see”- The Polar Express 

A little girl runs around her grandparents’ living room, fully immersed in the chaos surrounding her.  She bounces from one to the next, barely paying any attention to the conversations that swirl around her.  She’s 4 and can’t stop running even if her family has asked her to slow down. She joyfully takes in the sights of her family around her not fully appreciating the beauty she sees before her.  On this lap around the apartment she encounters her aunt, ecstatically asking her if it’s time to look  for Santa. Her aunt gives her a sweet smile and calls the other children in the family over.  She directs the small group to the bedroom of the girl’s grandfather.  They clutter around his back window to see who will find Santa first this year. The three children all find themselves jumping for joy, exclaiming they see Santa. The girl’s aunt agrees with the children as one of them exclaims they know it’s Santa because of the red glow illuminating the sky.  The children deem the trip to the window a success and the girl skips out of the room to inform her mother that they found him. 

Some years have passed and the little girl is now seven years old and still running around the apartment in pure excitement. She is sped off by her sister who is holding a plate of desserts and her grandmother who is opening gifts. She keeps running back and forth, asking her dad to check where Santa is on the Santa Tracker. Her dad never complains about her asking and tells her where he is with a smile on his face each time.  Once again her aunt asks if she wants to go look for Santa. Without hesitation, she nodded and gathered the other children to come look. The small group marches into her grandfather’s bedroom and huddles around the window once again. This time the girl is the first one to find him, feeling infinitely proud of herself for completing the task. The group agrees that she found him and leaves the bedroom happily. The girl is then informed to grab her coat because they have something special for her outside. She quickly grabs her coat and her mother, rushing to see the surprise. Her aunt’s family hands her a bag of “reindeer food”. She never questions what the reindeer food actually consists of as she threw it by the handfuls down the sidewalk. Running up the sidewalk with the other children, she makes sure that Santa has a clear path to her house. She runs inside the house and can’t wait to tell the rest of her family about the special food. 

She is now 9 and has only slightly slowed down. She is still excurbant on Christmas, appreciating the people around her just a little bit more this year.  This year her family is in shorts and the air conditioning needs to be turned on.  Outside, it is a little under 75 degrees and feels like a cool spring night. While it wasn’t the White Christmas the girl dreamt of, it was perfect in its own right.  She runs up to her aunt asking if they can look for Santa yet. Her aunt happily agrees and so do the other children. Her 24 year old cousin even decides to look out the window with them this year! The girl’s cousin was the one who started this tradition after all.  Just like years passed the group parades into the bedroom to stare out the famous window. They found him almost instantly that year, having perfected their techniques over the years. They then go outside for the annual distribution of reindeer food. Before they go back in, her grandmother stops her, saying they should say a prayer to the nativity scene set up at the girl’s family home. She does it, not fully understanding at the time how special that moment was. The weather was so nice they had a clear sky for stargazing.  They could have looked at those stars for hours, they were like nothing they had ever seen before. The only reason their staring ended was because the girl’s dad called them inside for dessert. 

A year goes by and it is now the first Christmas the girl has not looked out the window.  Due to her aunt’s medical complications, her family is going to be celebrating Christmas Eve at their house down the street.  Christmas Eve feels different for everyone that year, considering that the two families have celebrated Christmas Eve together for 4 decades. What is unknown to the little girl is that Christmas will be her last living on the top floor of her family’s home. This will be the last Christmas where she is constantly running up and downstairs between the party her grandparents are hosting on the first floor and her own apartment on the top floor. She will still attend Christmas at her grandparents’ house but it will feel different. 

The little girl is now 11 years old. Her sister moved out for college a little less than a week ago and she misses her more each day.  While she is only 30 minutes away at Emerson, she still feels lonely without her.  When the sister brought her roommate home within that first week, her family was equally as excited to have her home as they were sad when they had to bring her back to school.  The day after the much needed visit with her sister, the 11 year old joyfully walked up to her sister’s room to check if  her air conditioner had been left on. She looked around at her sister’s room, everything was perfectly intact, exactly how she left it. She could tell from the heat she felt the second she got up there that the air conditioner wasn’t on but still checked as she was instructed. As she turns from the air conditioner she sees the forbidden biography project sitting on her sister’s bed. She lets curiosity get the best of her and starts flipping through the pages immediately, enjoying the glimpse she has been given into her sister’s life. She stops in her tracks, the silence of the room echoes around her. Tears fill her eyes and she can’t avert her eyes from the pages. She skims the rest of the binder, hoping what she read is not true. She puts the binder down and sprints down the two flights of stairs to find her mom.  She is so shocked she cannot think. Her mother looks at her concerned as she is crying when she enters the room. She informs her about the pages she read and watches as her mom’s eyes fill with tears too. Her mother exclaims “I thought we had one more Christmas”.  Both the mom and daughter cry together. The daughter is crushed and physically can’t stop crying. 

2 years go by and the girl is now fully a teenager. Christmas that year was one unlike any other. Watching Christmas Day mass from her living room and staying in her pajamas all day was nice in theory but made her heart hurt terribly.  Her family enjoyed  Christmas dinner separately. She did not hug her grandparents or sing with her cousins. Outside of her parents and sister, the only people she saw on Christmas Day were her uncle and cousin and they dropped gifts off six feet away. Wishing each other a Merry Christmas, the girl and her family hopped on a zoom call so they could all see each other. 

3 more years go by and the little girl is not so little anymore. She is a sophomore in high school and busy with a 16 year old life.  While she still is the most festive person around, she has to work harder to feel the magic of Christmas.  She is preoccupied with school and activities, constantly running from place to place just to get to rehearsal on time.  As a child the magic of Christmas was so heavily poured into her that she developed an intense love for the holiday itself. But now as a teenager, she is responsible for finding this magic herself.  In years past, watching The Polar Express and listening to Christmas music has given her the Christmas spirit.  While those factors still brought her joy, something surprising really brought her Christmas magic this year. In the car ride back to Winthrop on Christmas Eve, the girl’s sister brought up the fact that their cousin would be singing midnight mass with their aunt. The teenager paused the music she was listening to and took out her headphones before posing the idea of attending midnight mass to the group.  Her parents look at each other, clearly interested in their daughter’s idea. The family debates going for many hours until the girl has finally fallen asleep. Her parents wake her up after learning that their whole family will be attending the mass. She gets dressed begrudgingly as she just wants to go back to bed. Her mother convinces her that she’ll love it and that she just needs to give it a chance. So she goes to midnight mass with her family, taking up the first two pews in the church.  When the lights are shut off  her aunt and cousin begin singing  Silent Night. She is moved by the beauty around her, taking a moment to appreciate what was in front of her. She begins to cry. The girl has realized that she doesn’t need to look out the window to find Christmas magic. Maybe the magic has always been inside her.  

“May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve”


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About the Contributor
Elaina Freeman, Writer
Hi everyone! I’m Elaina Freeman and I’m a sophomore at Winthrop High School.  This is my second year on the staff and I can't wait to continue to share my stories with all of you. This club has given me the confidence to share my opinions and I am proud to be a member of the staff!  I am also a proud member of The Winthrop High School Drama Society and our school's creative writing club. Outside of writing, I enjoy playing my guitar and spending time with my friends and family. I’m so happy to be on the staff this year and can’t wait to see what we all do next!

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