“Has Father Christmas been, Mummy?” five year old James asked innocently, running into the kitchen, his brother and sister close behind him.
“Well, I think I heard someone coming down the chimney last night.” Ginny replied to her three children. Albus’ eyes shone with a delight and excitement that only a four year old could manage as James darted towards the living room.
“Father Christmas came down the chimney?” Albus asked, astounded.
“Yep.” Harry put in. “That’s how he gets in to deliver your presents.”
Albus’ mouth became a little o of wonder then changed to confusion. “But how does he fit?”
“It’s magic!” little Lily exclaimed and Albus giggled.
“Come on, slowcoaches!” James yelled from the living room door. Lily attempted to run towards him to prove that she wasn’t a slowcoach, her face alive with excitement. Al followed at a slower pace.
James carefully eased the door open a crack and peered round. The little family made their way into the living room, following James.
“What’s he left for you?” Harry asked his children in an enthusiastic voice, watching their faces at the contents of the room. Two toy broomsticks lay side by side next to a miniature trampoline with a handle.
“Broomsticks and a trampoline!” Albus proclaimed loudly gazing at them in delight but not daring to go closer. It was little Lily who decided that it was time to test out her Christmas present. She ran forwards in her pink pyjamas and threw herself onto the small trampoline, clinging onto the handle and bouncing repeatedly. Harry and Ginny exchanged looks of relief; they had been worried that Lily would be indignant at not receiving a broomstick too.
Following their sister’s lead, James and Albus both picked up their toy broomsticks, examining them from every angle. Just as James tried to mount his, Harry took his arm to stop him.
James looked up at his father, offended. “You can try them out later, when we’ve cleared a space.” Harry told him and James looked as if that was the answer he had expected.
“So do you think Father Christmas couldn’t fit these in your stockings?” Ginny asked her children. James and Albus laughed but Lily cried “Nooo!” not understanding the joke.
She was still on the trampoline and, as she leaned over the handle bar, she spotted the large pile of Christmas presents stacked under the tree.
“Ooh there’s presents there, look everybody!” Lily stated, the trampoline now forgotten.
“Yes, those are your Christmas presents.” Ginny said.
“Can we open them now?” James asked politely and Albus nodded.
“Of course we can.” said Harry. “See if you can find one with your name on it.” He said, really talking to his two sons as he was certain that, at two and a half, Lily couldn’t recognise her name yet and would need help with reading the labels.
Lily herself obviously saw no problem as she immediately dived for the pile of presents, grabbing the first one she came to. “That says Lily!” she announced carrying it over to the small coffee table in the centre of the room.
“I will open it up.” She told the room at large whilst trying to find a way to get into the paper with her small hands.
“Does it say Lily?” Harry asked his small daughter while he helped Albus open his first present. She reacted by putting her hands on her hips and giving her father an indignant look.
“Yes it does!” she replied. Harry looked at Ginny who proceeded to check the label of the gift Lily was attempting to open.
“No it doesn’t.” She told her daughter, unsurprised. “That one says James. Let’s see if we can find one with your name on.” And she took her daughter’s hand intending to help her find one of her own presents. But Lily didn’t want to be helped and once again picked up the first present she could see.
“I’ll have this one!” she stated, carrying it towards her mother. “This one says Lily.”
Ginny checked the label. “That one says James as well.” She was struggling not to laugh at her daughter’s expression of stubbornness.
“Cool, a toy wand!” James shouted, waving it triumphantly above his head and watching harmless, coloured sparks fly from the tip. He had just opened the first present Lily had insisted was hers. Lily watched him glumly.
“This one’s for you Lily.” Albus said quietly, holding out a neatly wrapped package to his sister. He had just opened a set of Quidditch action figures and was inspecting them proudly.
“Thanks, Al.” Lily whispered and her parents looked at each other shocked that she had thanked him without the usual prompt of ‘What do you say?’.
She held the present in her hands, looking at in awe.
“Let’s see the label.” Harry said, gently turning it towards him while still in his daughter’s hands. “For Lily.” He read out. “To wish you a happy Christmas, with lots of love from Grandma Molly and Granddad Arthur.”
Lily looked gleeful and she took the present from her father’s hand, showing it to the whole room. “This is from Grandma Molly and Granddad Arthur!” she announced proudly, holding it high above her head.
Her parents exchanged amused looks while her brothers looked up momentarily before looking back at their own presents. Albus had just discovered he had also been given a toy wand and Harry wondered how long it would be before they had to enforce strict rules on the use of the wands.
James unwrapped a knitted red jumper with a golden snitch stitched onto the front, his expression torn between excitement and disgust at the present. “Do I have to wear it?” he asked his mother pleadingly.
“You have to wear it when we all go to The Burrow this afternoon. After that it’s your choice.” Ginny laughed at her son’s look of relief. “But Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Grandma Molly’s Weasley jumpers.”
Harry laughed as he spotted two squashy packages in the same wrapping paper with his and Ginny’s names on. Apparently you were never too old for a Weasley jumper.
After Albus opened his own jumper (green with a picture of a broomstick on the front), the family realised Lily had still not managed to open her first present that she had been so happy to receive. Her little hands scrabbled at the paper before Harry took pity on her and tore the corner off to get her started.
She ripped the paper off surprisingly carefully and looked at what was inside. “Wow!” Lily said, holding the gift up so everyone could see.
Instead of a knitted Christmas jumper, Lily held a small, stuffed, knitted toy owl. It had snow white wings and a little orange beak, complete with plastic eyes and little claws at the bottom. Harry had a sneaking suspicion as to where the inspiration of this owl had come from to Mrs Weasley.
“Isn’t that lovely Lily?” Ginny asked her daughter who looked overjoyed and hugged the little toy.
“Hey Dad, it looks like your owl from when you were at school!” James cried, remembering a picture he’d seen in the photo album of Harry, Ron and Hermione in their first year accompanied by Hedwig.
“I think you’re right there James.” Harry told his son.
“Daddy what was your owl’s name?” Lily asked innocently.
“She was called Hedwig.” Harry told her from where he was still sat under the Christmas tree next to Albus.
“Hedwig.” Lily tested the name out in her little voice. “Then I’m going to call my owl Hedwig too.” She said simply and ran around the room making Hedwig ‘fly’ behind her.
And Harry thought it odd that, back at the start of the war when he had been so devastated at Hedwig’s death, he had no idea that he would one day be watching his two year old daughter run around with a knitted replica of his beloved owl.