Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2240602-Holiday-with-a-difference
by jaya
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2240602
Josh finds his voice.
Create a different holiday to be celebrated in December. Explain the purpose, traditions, etc.
Written for "The Whatever Contest." *Right* "The Whatever Contest -- Closed for Now

Eric and Anna booked a condo on the Florida coast to celebrate Christmas this year. The Corona virus threat dampened the spirit of Christmas shopping and having house guests to celebrate Christmas. So, they decided to go away for a week to the Florida coast by road. The kids were excited. Eric’s college friend, Jake would join them with his family at the condo.

The kids, Tom and Lilly packed their backpacks with games, books and other knickknacks for themselves and the Jake’s kids Josh and Jen too. They were all in the same age group of six and ten. Jake was happy to be spending the holidays with Eric’s family considering his six-year-old autistic son, Josh. The boy knew Tom and Lilly and he appeared comfortable playing with them on the occasions, when he met them.

They started after lunch. The drive was smooth as there were no blockades on the way. Eric and Anna shared driving and were not as much tired as they first thought. This was a six hour drive through Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. By six in the evening, they reached the destination and Jake’s family was ready to welcome them.

The condo was adequately spacious for both the families. It faced the sea front from their living cum dining room. Four bedrooms with attached baths, a common kitchen and dining space were more than they expected.

After a simple dinner of pasta, followed by caramel pudding, which Eva cooked in the dainty kitchenette, the families relaxed. While the elders watched the TV in the living room, the kids played “I spy with my little eye”. Josh was silently observing. He stayed with them unlike his usual habit of going away to be by himself. His mom, Eva was keeping an eye on his movements. They went to bed soon afterwards.

Next morning, they went out to the beach for a stroll on the shore and enjoy the early morning sunshine, the clear blue sky and playing ball. Josh hardly spoke but he was with them the whole time holding his mom’s hand.
Both dads got the breakfast ready. Boiled eggs, French toast and cheerios with fresh orange juice were enjoyed by all.

Tom took out drawing sheets and spread them on the dining table with stencils and pencils. All the four were busy drawing and painting away. Josh was seen bent on his sheet immersed in his art work. When Lilly asked him how he was doing, he raised his head slowly, but didn’t utter a word.

Ana and Lilly planned a perfect lunch of mixed vegetables, roast chicken with sweet potatoes and brown butter. They sprinkled the cheese, cashews, and rosemary and spooned the hot brown butter vinaigrette over the chicken.
Men and kids, with their appetite sharpened by the sea climate, ate a hearty lunch. Even Josh loved the chicken.
Eva was happy. She told Anna, “He is doing very well. He eats half of what he consumed today.”

The day before Christmas, Jake took the kids on a hunt for the Christmas tree. The supervisor at the condo center told them of the farm on the outskirts of the town. It was fun going to the woods to get the tree instead of buying them online or at the town store.

Eva asked, “Josh darling, will you go with Tom, Lilly, and Jen to get the Christmas tree?”
There was sparkle to his eyes as Josh looked up at his mom.
Saying “Ok, here you go,” Eva put his snow boots on for him, and a thick sweater against cold. Others were ready too and went with their dads to the car.

Jake drove with the kids singing “Christmas in Kilarney” and other carols. There was something special in the air. Soon they reached the woods and walked through some stray conifers, their trunks buried in snow. Eric chose a tree of medium height and cut it with a mechanical saw. Once he started trimming the irregular branches, the kids surrounded him and asked questions as to how it was going into their parlor.

“Wait and see children,” he answered with a wide smile.
He arranged it on the roof of the car and tied it up, and got it to the condo. Eva and Lilly helped Jake in carrying the tree inside and stood it up on a small stand in the corner of their common living room. Getting your own tree was a rewarding experience, they thought.

Lilly brought out the packed ornaments. Kids had lot of fun in decorating the tree, an important traditional feature of Christmas, symbolizing God. A colored star was hung on the top of the tree, the star that led the wise men to Mary’s boy child, Jesus.

All set and ready to light up. Eva pressed the remote and lo! Twinkling colorful lights came on.
“Little stars” said Josh, his sweet voice clear and loud. Eva and Jake exchanged surprised looks. It was first time ever that Josh spoke ever since his birth.

The wonder and joy of Christmas were felt by them all as they embraced one another.
On the next day, Christmas was celebrated by the two families with a double bonanza, consisting of gifts, a sumptuous lunch and Josh’s newfound voice.

What a lovely holiday with a difference!

Word Count: 896

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