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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)

TITLE: Ornaments
By Shaina Geist


The smell of wood smoke greeted Susan Gibson as she walked in the door to her parents’ house. Even though she knew the merrily decorated Christmas tree in the living room was artificial, just the sight of it brought the scent of evergreen to her nose. Ah, the smells of Christmas! It brought tears to her eyes. She had been away so long, too long.

Dropping her overnight bag by the door, she walked slowly towards the tree to see which ornaments her mother had chosen to decorate with this year. Ever since Susan was a child, she had bought her mother a special Christmas tree ornament every year. She always had it personalized and dated. Eventually there had been too many ‘special’ ornaments to put them all on the tree and still have room for the other ornaments. So her mother usually just picked out a few and hung them on the front of the tree in a place of honor.

She spotted the little white doggie with a peppermint colored bone, the gold Christmas tree with the red and green rhinestones, the pewter stocking with a red rose… It seemed that her mother had used more than a few special ornaments this year. She found more and more of them until she realized that ALL of the ornaments on the tree were the special ones. The entire tree was covered in gold, silver, and painted ornaments.
Susan laughed aloud as she examined each one and relived the memories behind them. Then she found the very first one she had ever bought. It was a little gold teddy bear engraved with the words, “I love you, Mom. 1992.” The tears reappeared as she lightly brushed her fingers over the small bear.

Then her eye caught on an unfamiliar ornament. This one was made of wood that had been hand painted and then varnished. It was a fireplace with seven stockings hung on the mantle. Printed about the mantel was, “The Gibson Family 2008.” On each stocking were the names of her mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, her nephew, and finally her own name. The last stocking had no name and she knew that one was reserved for her future husband. She had been praying and waiting for that husband for all of her 30 years on this earth.

A loud gasp brought Susan out of her reverie. She turned to see that her mother had just walked in the room. “Good Lord, girl! I didn’t even hear you come in!” her mother cried as she hugged her only daughter whom she had not seen in a year because she had been on a mission trip to Guatemala.

“Daddy! Get in here! Susan’s home!”

Susan’s father came rushing into the living room and stopped when he saw the young woman standing beside his wife. It had been so long since he had seen her he hardly recognized her. But it wasn’t until after he had pulled her into a bear hug that he realized there was an extra person in the room. Mama must have noticed that too, judging by what she said next.

“Susie, who’s your friend?”

Susan stepped back from her father with a wide grin on her face. She reached over and took the unfinished ornament from the tree and said, “We can add the seventh name to this now, Mama.” Then she walked over to the tall young man standing in front of the fireplace and wrapped an arm around his waist. “This is Brendan Fischer – my fiancé.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 11/30/08
I love your use of the ornaments to pull us into the story. The descriptions are great, and I wasn't expecting the ending. Nice.