“Let’s get going,” said Moms. “We’ll be late for Christmas Eve services.”

“Do we hafta go, Moms?” five-year-old Trixie asked. “Someone needs to stay home in case Santa Claus comes.”

Trixie was fidgeting with the dress her mother had insisted she wear to church. It was one that her mother had painstakingly made after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t just some ordinary dress. It was red velvet with a lace collar and a row of pearl buttons that ran down the back of it. She had had to stand for what seemed like hours, while her mother buttoned all ten thousand of them. Underneath the dress was this crinkly itchy junk that made the skirt stick out poufy.

Then, to top it off, there were the black shiny shoes that Moms called Mary Janes. Trixie didn’t know why she had to wear shoes named after Mary Jane Carpenter. Mary Jane Carpenter was the meanest girl in kindergarten. She always wore frilly dresses and made sure the teacher knew when she did something good. When the teacher wasn’t looking she loved to torment Trixie. Last week, Mary Jane pulled on Trixie’s curls; the week before, she told Trixie that Santa Claus wasn’t going to visit her house because she was too ugly. That had gotten Trixie really mad, so she pushed Mary Jane into a snow bank. Trixie had had to stay in from recess and sit in the principal’s office for the rest of the week. She was totally disgusted to find out there are shoes named after her least favorite classmate.

How she wished she could dress up like her brothers! First of all, they got to wear pants. Sure - they weren’t jeans but at least they kept your legs warm. But the coolest thing was this - they got to wear ties like Daddy did. This year Moms had made matching ties for them. Trixie wanted a matching tie, too.

When they had finally gotten to church the only place with enough room for the family to sit together was in the front pew of the church. Trixie was glad because at least then she could see what was happening. The sanctuary had been filled with several Christmas trees festooned with white ornaments. Poinsettias graced the front of the altar. Trixie was excited by the wonder of it all.

When their mother had ushered them into the pew, she had tried to separate Mart and Trixie. Trixie ended up sitting between perfect Brian and her dad. Brian sat up straight in the pew, not looking around or fidgeting. Trixie couldn’t sit still. She was enthralled by the festive surroundings and couldn’t wait for Sana to come. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t help looking around. Just as the choir began to process in, singing O Come All Ye Faithful, she spotted her best friend, Diana Lynch.

“Hi, Diana!” she called out so loud that she could be heard above the choir. Her dad had quickly, but gently put his hand over her mouth, reminding her she was in church and that she needed to be quiet.

When it came time to read the Christmas Story, the pastor called all of the children up to the altar to listen. Brian took Mart firmly in one hand and Trixie firmly in the other, and guided them near the spot where the pastor had seated himself.

“You’ve got to be really quiet,” whispered Brian, “and sit very still. No running around on the altar.”

As the pastor began to read the story from the Gospel of Luke, all three Belden children sat enraptured in the words. When he told of Mary and Joseph being turned away from the inn because it was full, Trixie piped up in her loudest voice, “I betcha if they’d gone to the Glen Road Inn they wouldn’t have been turned away.” Titters could be heard among the adults.

“Shh,” Brian shushed her while Mart decided to check out the poinsettias on the altar.

“Trixie, look,” Mart whispered as he began to pick up a pot. “This one is bigger than the one Uncle Andrew sent Moms and Dad. Do you think we could trade it for this one?” As he stood up he tripped and dirt spilled all over the altar. Moms gasped as she rushed from the front pew with her husband. Mr. Belden grabbed Mart’s and Trixie’s hands and led them back to the pew while Moms and Brian tried to quietly clean up the mess Mart had created.

By the time the congregation sang Joy to the World at the end of the service, Moms, Dad and Brian had a frazzled appearance. Mart and Trixie were bouncing from one foot to the other, their eyes still taking in the wonder of the night.

As they exited the church, Pastor Kelm shook each of their hands. “Do you suppose Santa will be visiting the Belden household tonight?” he asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

“I don’t know,” replied Moms. “If church behavior is any indication, your guess is as good as mine.”

Trixie and Mart had already dashed over to see the large nativity scene that was to one side of the church entrance while Brian stayed by his parents’ sides. The almost-twins missed seeing the devastated look on their brother’s face when Moms expressed doubt about that Santa might visit them because his brother and sister had once again gotten into trouble.

Trixie was climbing into the manger when she heard Brian gasp. She didn’t even notice she had tipped over Joseph and the shepherds with her feet.

“Beatrix Alicia Belden!” her mother cried. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Startled, Trixie looked up, jerking the manger and toppling over the cow and sheep. Tears welled in her eyes as she realized that she had once again gotten into some kind of trouble. In her hands she clutched the light blue scarf her mother had made for her. “I was just trying to keep Baby Jesus warm, Moms,” she explained tearfully. “It’s too cold out here for him to be just in his diaper.”

Pastor Kelm, having witnessed the scene, said, “I think you’re right, Trixie. I bet Baby Jesus is rather cold. It’s very nice of you to let him use your scarf.” He reached down and lifted Trixie out of the manger. Taking up the Baby Jesus, he swaddled him in the blue scarf and helped Trixie put him back in his proper resting place. Trixie’s dad helped set the rest of the figurines upright again.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Mart and Trixie were both buckled in their seatbelts.

Despite the excitement of the holiday, Trixie couldn’t keep her eyes open for the short trip home. Both she and Mart were asleep before the Belden’s car pulled out of the parking lot. Their parents enjoyed a rare peaceful ride home with Brian sitting quietly in the back between his two siblings. During the drive home snow began to fall. As if they had a built in alarm, the moment the car turned from Glen Road into the driveway, both Mart and Trixie were wide awake.

“Maybe Santa came while we were gone,” Trixie exclaimed bouncing in the seat. “Can we open our present if he has, Moms? Pretty please?” she pleaded.

Patiently, Moms replied, “We do not open our gifts until Christmas morning. You need to get a good night’s sleep because we’ve got a busy day tomorrow. Aunt Alicia will be here by noon.”

Trixie groaned. She just knew that Aunt Alicia would give her something like sewing cards or knitting needles. Why couldn’t she get fishing gear or a ball like Mart and Brian usually got?

Despite what Moms had said, as soon as the car stopped Trixie bounded out of the car and into the house still hoping Santa had visited. She shook her coat off and dropped it on the kitchen floor as she raced to the living room.

“He didn’t come,” Trixie moaned. “The stockings are still empty.”

“Beatrix,” her mother called to her. “Get in here and pick up your coat and hang it up.”

Slowly, Trixie returned to the kitchen to pick up her coat. Before she reached, it she spied a tray of Christmas cookies on the counter top.

“I bet Santa didn’t come because we didn’t put out any cookies,” she said, heading over to the counter.

“Young lady,” her father told her. “You are not to do anything else until you pick up your coat and hang it up properly.” He used that tone that meant he was serious.

It took Trixie about five minutes to put her coat away. She picked it up, carried it over to the closet, and just dropped it there. As she turned around she saw the look her father gave her. Recognizing the look, she started making excuses about not being able to reach the hangers and Mart being in the way. By the time she finally finished the task, he was tapping his foot impatiently.

“Up to bed,” he said. “Santa won’t come if you’re up.”

Slowly, Trixie trudged her way up the stairs. Thoughts of putting out cookies had been forgotten. Her mother followed her; Trixie knew that was to make sure she didn’t throw her dress on the floor and kick her shoes under the bed.

Getting ready for bed tonight took longer than usual. Every few minutes she would walk over to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of a flashing red light flying through the air. Finally, she was tucked into bed and saying her prayers as her mother listened.

“Dear God, please have Santa bring me ice skates, a hockey stick and a hula hoop,” Trixie started.

“Trixie,” her mother admonished. “That’s not how we taught you to say your prayers.”

Trixie tried to look contrite as she finished. “Thank you for my mom and dad. Thank you for not letting Brian find out I took his favorite notebook and losted it. God Bless everyone.”

Moms bent down, placed a kiss on her forehead and left the room, quietly closing the door behind her.

As soon as Trixie was sure her mom was not coming back, she threw off the covers, stepped into her slippers and pulled on her robe. Then she checked out the window again to see if she could see signs Santa was on his way. All of a sudden she realized that she hadn’t put any cookies out for him after all. Then she remembered she wanted to leave out some carrots to feed the reindeer, tool.

She crept to her door and opened it slowly, checking in both directions to make sure no one had heard her. As she started down the stairs she heard someone come up behind her.

“Shhh,” whispered Mart, his curly blond hair bobbing as he shook his head. “What are you doing out here?”

In her typical loud whisper, Trixie replied, “We forgot to put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. What are you doing?”

“I’m going to try and catch Santa delivering the gifts,” Mart said as he moved ahead of her.

“Well, if you’re going to stay up, so am I,” declared Trixie.

“If you don’t quit making so much noise you’re going to wake Moms and then we’ll never catch Santa.” Mart stopped abruptly on the stairs and Trixie ran into him.

“I’m not making any noise,” Trixie insisted her voice rising. “’sides I wouldn’t have made any noise if you hadn’t stopped.”

The two children stood still for several minutes waiting to see if anyone had heard them. They finally reached the bottom of the stairs and headed to the kitchen to get the treats for Santa and his helpers.

Mart pulled a chair over to the counter and climbed up to get a glass and plate while Trixie went to the refrigerator to fetch the milk. She opened the carton and slopped more milk on the table than she managed to put in the cup.

Mart started putting the cookies on the plates but broke several of them.

“You can’t give Santa broken cookies,” said Trixie. She started to remove them from the plate but they crumbled as she picked them up. Mart reached over to grab the broken cookies and began to eat them.

He said something, but Trixie couldn’t understand him because his mouth was full. Very carefully, she reached into the cookie jar and pulled out several frosted cut-out cookies. Somehow they all managed to reach the plate without breaking. She then took the milk back to the refrigerator and took a couple of carrots from the vegetable bin to put on the plate with the cookies. All the time she was working, Mart just sat and ate more crumbled cookies.

Once the snack for Santa was prepared to Trixie’s satisfaction, she and Mart headed to the living room with the plate and glass. Like Hansel and Gretel they left a trail of crumbs along their path, but never noticed.

“What are we going to do now?” asked Trixie, as she placed the milk on the coffee table. Miraculously, not drop spilled.

“Let’s hide behind the couch,” said Mart. “Then Santa won’t see us when he comes down the chimney. You’ve got to be quiet, though!”

Mart and Trixie snuck behind the couch. They knelt down and poked their heads around the edge of the couch, and watched the fireplace. They watched and watched.

Trixie couldn’t stop yawning, even though she really, really wanted to see Santa. After what seemed like ages, she decided to lie down and rest her head on her arms – just for a few minutes. Mart soon joined her. In less than ten minutes they were both asleep.

Several hours later Moms and Dad carefully made their way down the stairs. As they headed to the garage where the presents were hid, Moms noticed the trail of cookie crumbs running from the kitchen into the living room.

“Looks like someone is waiting for Santa. Who do you think it is?” she said.

“Well, by the looks of the trail it has to Mart or Trixie,” said Dad. “My guess is both. They were so excited when we got home.”

Moms poked her head into the living room to make sure the culprits were asleep. She didn’t immediately see them. When she did, a warm fuzzy feeling came over her. Mart had his arm wrapped around his little sister. They looked like angels. Too bad they didn’t act like them when they were awake, she thought, pointing out the sweet sight to her husband.

Somehow, they managed to bring in presents from Santa without making any noise. Moms filled the stockings while Santa Dad drank some of the milk and ate a carrot and a few cookies. They then tip-toed upstairs back to bed to await the wee hours of the morning when their children woke up.

Trixie woke up as the mantel clock chimed five times. At first she wasn’t quite sure where she was. Then she remembered they had been waiting for Santa. “Mart,” she whispered. “Get up and let’s see if he came.”

Mart’s first response was to mumble something incomprehensible. When she finally made him realize what day it was, he jumped up and and stared at the sight before him. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “Look at what he brought.”

Trixie raced over to the pile of presents and was about to start to tear a package open without looking to see whose name was on the package.

“Trixie, you know the rules. We can’t open any gifts until everyone is up and we can’t wake up Moms and Dad until the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the six.”

Trixie looked at the clock above the mantel and groaned. “That will be like a million years," she said. “What are we going to do?”

Mart thought for a moment. “We could surprise Moms and Dad and make them breakfast in bed.”

“Yes!” Trixie clapped her hands. “That would be good. We just can’t use the stove. Remember what happened the last time we tried to do that.”

Mart winced. “Yeah, we tried to pop popcorn and we started it on fire. It’s a good thing Moms walked in when she did.”

The two gremlins went into the kitchen and found a tray to put everything on. Trixie took out two bowls for cereal and two glasses from Moms’ dish cupboard. They poured cornflakes into the bowls, once more getting more on the floor than in the bowls. Carefully, Mart added the milk to the cereal and some juice in the glasses.

“We need to decorate the cereal for Christmas,” Trixie announced, grabbing the jars of red and green colored sugar that they had used to decorate cookies earlier in the week. She started to shake the sugar onto the cereal, but when it wasn’t coming out fast enough she took the cover off and dumped the red in one bowl and the green in another.

“We’ve got to be very careful when we carry this up the stairs.” Mart cautioned. Trixie could tell he was trying to sound as responsible as their older brother.

“We can do it Mart. We’re big kids now that you’re in first grade and I’m in kindergarten,” Trixie assured him. “Do you think we can take this up to Moms and Dad now?”

“Well, the big hand’s on the four and the little hand’s between the five and six. That should be close enough.”

Trixie took one side of the tray and Mart took the other and very slowly they worked their way to the staircase. They didn’t have any problems until they reached the steps and tried to walk up them side by side. Just as they reached the top step, one glass of juice tipped over.

“Trixie,” Mart whispered loudly. “Look what you did!”

Trixie started to cry. “It’s not my fault. It just happened. Now Moms is going to be mad at us and we prob’ly won’t be able to open our gifts ‘til later.”

“Trixie,” Mart whispered again. “Pay attention to what you’re doing. You’re going to spill the whole tray and then we’ll really be in trouble.”

Just then Brian stuck he head out of his bedroom door. When he saw the disaster waiting to happen, he rushed over and propped up Trixie’s end of the tray.

“What are you two doing?” he asked.

Trixie sniffed. “We made Moms and Dad breakfast in bed, but I spilled the juice.”

Brian, showing patience that belied his eight years, carefully helped his younger siblings get the tray to their parents’ room. They knocked on the door and waited until their parents invited them inside.

“Merry Christmas!!” yelled Mart and Trixie.

Moms and Dad yawned and brushed the sleep from their eyes. Glancing over at the clock, Dad groaned under his breath but greeted his children with a joyful “Merry Christmas”.

“What do we have here?” Moms asked, quickly jumping out of bed to take the tray from the children. She grabbed one of her husband’s t-shirts and placed it on the dresser before setting the tray down on the polished wood surface.

Moms and Dad gushed over the wonderful breakfast that Mart and Trixie had made, and pretended to enjoy the food. The almost-twins sat crosslegged on the bed, beaming as they watched their parents eat the breakfast they had prepared. While they were eating, Brian slipped out to clean up the mess on the stairs.

Finally, it was time to go downstairs to see what Santa had brought everyone.

Trixie jumped from one foot to the other as her dad started to pass out gifts. Now that they were finally opening the presents, it was even harder to wait until everyone had a gift. Only when each person was holding a gift were they allowed to start opening them.

“It’s just what I wanted,” Trixie shrieked when she opened a box containing a pair of single bladed ice skates. “Now I can skate just like Mart and Brian!”

As they continued to open the gifts, Trixie exclaimed after each one, “It’s just what I wanted.” She even did it when she opened the package of new underwear and socks that she received every Christmas.

When they had finished unwrapping all of the gifts, Trixie begged to go out immediately and try her new skates at the Manor House Lake. With no one living at the Manor House, the Beldens used the lake for skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.

“Not until we’ve all had a good breakfast,” said Moms. Luckily, by this time Trixie had forgotten all about the special Christmas breakfast she and Mart had fixed for her parents.

Before her mom went out into the kitchen, Trixie ran up to her and gave her a big hug. “This is the bestest Christmas ever,” she exclaimed.

“I agree,” said Moms.

 


Author Notes

Merry Christmas to Robin!!! I was so excited to write this story for my Trixie Camp roomie. She didn’t have too many requests. She did note that they spent Christmas Eve at church, they would try to stay up but sleep would come and she was the first to see what was under the tree. So I incorporated them into the story.

I had a great time writing this story. It was one of the things I was looking forward to when I became a Jix author.

I’d like to thank Diana B. and Mary N. for editing this story. It wouldn’t be the story it is without your valuable advice.

And Mal did the lovely graphics and of course hosts my site.

Word Count, 3,529

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