Chapter 13 : Ornaments
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Chapter 13: Ornaments
“At Christmas, all roads lead home.”- Marjorie Holmes
Early in the morning, when the house is dark and silent, Molly Weasley make a quiet cup of tea and charms the appropriate cookery from its cabinets. Cooking for ten people on a normal day was a full time job within itself, but on a holiday, it required only the best courses she could make. She would start with the bread, while charming the knives to chop up the vegetables and herbs for dinner. After bread would be breakfast, toast, eggs, bacon, cinnamon buns with white icing, making a fresh pot of tea and chilled pumpkin juice all ready for when the family awoke. She would nibble in between preparing cookies and pies for dessert. Once breakfast was cleared, it was time to organize for dinner. The ham would be washed glazed and prepped for the oven. The vegetables would be steamed or mashed. The gravy recipe passed down for generations would be glanced at before perfected in a pot. Occasionally, a member of the family would wander in for a quick nibble, but everyone knew to save their appetite for later.
As they grew older, the Weasley children all silently came to an agreement that Hell would freeze over before any of them ever hosted Christmas in their own homes. Unless they wanted to deal with the wrath of their mother. Molly could be heard complaining about how it wasn’t easy to feed a many mouths that occupied her home, so when she handed out a task to be completed, it was better to smile, nod, and get it done. Yet at the end of the night when everyone was gather around the table enjoying the fruits of her labor, Molly would smile and know that it was all worth it.
It was on such a night, as everyone was enjoying their Christmas pudding that Fleur complimented Molly, but also suggested that she and Bill host next year. George almost dropped his spoon at the comment and looked at his older brother. Bill looked just as surprised as everyone else at the table, he knew better, and he thought he had made it clear that Christmas was always a definite at the Burrow. He smiled nervously at his mother as he reached over to pat his wife’s hand.
“Not sure the cottage could accommodate all of us dear.” He advised. “Especially now with all of Victorie’s stuff.”
The thought of their current estate and two of the three bedrooms belonging to their one child, seemed to have made it abundantly clear it was not going to happen. Everyone at the table seemed to release the breath they were holding at once and continue to eat their pudding.
After the dishes were charmed to clean and dry themselves, the family retired into the living room where Molly insisted on listening to the warbling sounds of Celestina Warbeck. Arthur was at the side table in the corner of the room, preparing a handful of nightcaps.
“I have to say, that one of the few things in the muggle world that is better has got to be Christmas music.” Harry said as he cringed at one of the higher notes being admitted from the radio.
Hermione, sitting on the floor in front of George, nodded in agreement. A smile spreading across her face as she and Harry shared their favorite songs. They laughed as Harry attempted to sing a version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Hermione turned when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“What traditions does your family have on Christmas?” George asked her.
“Oh, well when I was younger my mother’s family would come to our house for dinner. We didn’t see them as often as my father’s family, so we would all open the presents we bought for them after dinner. Then on Christmas day, we would have breakfast, open our gifts, then we would travel to my grandparents. But since their passing, the last few years, my family and I have just gone on holiday for Christmas. It’s quiet, but it’s nice to spend time with them.” She explained.
“Far better than mine.” Harry chimed. “Awake until past one in the morning to clean and do dishes, awake at five to prepare breakfast. I was lucky if I got a hand-me-down sock from Dudley. I knew early on there was no such thing as Santa. I was the one that had to wrap all thirty-five gifts for my cousin. This though,” he said as he looked around, “this is Christmas.”
One by one the Weasleys began to turn in, whether it was the excitement for the next morning, or full stomach’s needing the time to digest. Hermione and George were left, sitting on the couch together staring at the flames in the fireplace. Hermione nestled closer to George.
“My parents would always have the fireplace burning on Christmas. They thought it brought not only a since of warmth to the holidays, but added to the décor. When I was little I had a growing concern that if they left the fireplace lit, then the only way Santa could enter the house would be through the front door. I was not happy about it. I wanted him to stick with tradition and come down the chimney to deliver my gifts. But my parents would assure me that they would douse the flames before bed. I was six when I realized that Santa was a myth. I heard quite a bit of rustling downstairs, and went to investigate, only to find my mother adjusting the gifts under the tree, as my father filled our stockings,” Hermione explained. “I felt cheated in a way that my classmates were still so excited about this mythical man that came on a sled. I felt as if I had been told that magic wasn’t real.”
George laughed through his nose.
“Then you found out you were a witch.” He replied as he stared at the tree in the corner of the room.
“I’m still waiting for the day for someone to tell me it’s not real.” Hermione said as she looked at him.
“Well, I may have something to help you remember that it is indeed real.” George said as he flourished his wand.
A small package wrapped in the signature fuchsia and gold with a green bow came floating over to the couch. It was square in shape, too large to be a jewelry box, not that she was ready for sure a thing. It was light in weight, she almost feared a decorated spring to jump out of the container. George did love the old fashion muggle pranks. She untied the ribbon, as she tried to read his expression, it was the same excited look he had just before a good prank. She paused for a moment.
“Maybe…maybe I should wait to open it tomorrow…you know on Christmas…in front of witnesses.” She smiled as she handed it back to him.
George shook his head and put his hands around hers, pushing the box back towards her lap.
“I solemnly swear it is not a prank. Just a gift.” He raised his hands up in confirmation.
Hermione squinted her eyes at him, then sighed.
She peeled the tape off the paper to reveal a brown cardboard box. She found the small latch that kept the lid closed, and flipped it out. Lifting the lid, she was met with wrinkled tissue paper. She dug her fingers in the box to feel for the object within. She was met with a smooth circular object.
The ornament was a clear glass affixed with a gold string. At first she thought he had placed a wizarding photo within, yet when she turned it in her hand, she was met with a side and rear view of her parent’s house.
The yard was cover with a few inches of snow. It seemed as though her father had just cleared the front walk and stairs. The white lights her mother had insisted her father hang the day after Thanksgiving were shining brightly from the front porch. Through the living room window, the Christmas tree stood, welcoming the signs of Saint Nicholas and his gift.
“I…it’s beautiful.” She whispered as she watched the snow lightly fall on the yard.
“Everyone should be home on Christmas. The fact that you choose to spend it with us, means more than you could know. But, that doesn’t mean, you can’t be without them as well.” George explained.
Hermione leaned forward and kissed him. With her hand on his face, she wanted him to know just how wonderful she thought his gift was. After they break, they keep their foreheads together.
“Merry Christmas George.” Hermione whispers.
“Merry Christmas Hermione.”
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