Waiting for Him
Every year I would count the days until Christmas, but I always started over every Monday because I would forget where I left off.
The day before Christmas, my mom and I would spend the whole day baking cookies and getting ready for the party we had every year. The smell of cookies filled the house with happiness every night before Christmas. For some reason, my mom would always open the windows, trying to get rid of the scent. But no matter what we did, the smell always came back. I was full of joy because the aroma never left.
A lot of my family came to the party and it was fun, but not as fun as waiting for Santa Claus. I would play with my little cousin. We would always try to peek at the presents, but we would always get caught. What I liked about the party was getting a new dress and fancy shoes. Year after year, I would wait for the party to end because when it ended, it was bedtime, the most exciting part of the day! Especially on Christmas Eve. After the last guest left, I would run to my dresser and get out my green mamelucos stamped with candy canes and put them on as fast as I could. When my feet were covered by the footsies of my mamelucos, I needed to be careful when I ran, because of many experiments running across the floor and falling.
“ Por favor, mami, ya va a llegar Santa Claus! Tienes que hacer la cama,” I would plead, asking her to make my bed or else Santa Claus wouldn’t come until I fell asleep. My mom turned the convertible couch into a bed and threw my pink princess
blanket and my favorite pillow on it. While my mom was trying to make the bed, she looked up with an angry look, but she didn’t get mad. This happened once a year— well, maybe twice. I ran alone to the kitchen and brought Santa’s cookies. I tried not to eat those delicious-looking chocolate-chip cookies that smelled so good. I thought, I wonder if Santa likes my cookies?
I ran back to the living room that was fairly dark, with only one lamp that was by my bed/couch. My mom turned on the heater while she said, “ Que sueñes con los angelitos y si necesitas algo, me echas un grito.” I don’t remember a night when my mom didn’t say, “Dream with the little angels.”
The heater made a loud noise and gave off a burning dust smell. I wanted to eat Santa’s cookies, but I thought that if I ate them, Santa might get mad at me. And if he did, he wouldn’t bring me presents. Staring at the cookies, I fell asleep and dreamed of the presents I would be opening the next morning.
I would try to keep my eyes wide open, but year after year, I would fall asleep. On Christmas morning, I would wake up at 6 a.m. thinking, Yea! Christmas! And I would go wake up my mom, who slept in her king-sized bed. I remember it had blue sheets and green covers. I couldn’t open my presents without making my mom jealous, because I was little and I could still get presents from Santa.
Every present was special; opening presents was a very important ceremony. I don’t know how, but I managed not to rip any of the wrapping paper; it was very nerve-racking. That was the only time of the year that I was very patient. I would save every sheet of wrapping paper to remember that Christmas and Santa Claus were worth waiting for and that I had to be nice the whole year to deserve presents.
Christmas morning wouldn’t be the same without a special breakfast. My mom would make me chilaquiles, which are a delicious traditional Mexican dish. They would take a little over an hour to prepare, and for that whole hour I would stare at the oven wanting to eat them so badly. Finally, the chilaquiles were done, and we would have breakfast. After breakfast, I would go upstairs to make sure that there weren’t any more presents for me under my grandma’s Christmas tree. Sometimes there were, and sometimes there weren’t any— that was disappointing. I would wake up my grandma and my auntie, so they could have breakfast and get ready to take me to a mercado. I loved to go to the mercado, because it sold all kinds of food, clothes, and toys. When we went to the mercado, there wasn’t any snow, but the cold air was always there. They would buy me a Christmas present and invite me to almuerzo or lunch at the restaurant Quesadillas Alicia.
I loved and still love Christmas. It’s a holiday that reminds people that giving is better than taking. Over the years it has changed, but it is still my very favorite holiday.