Advent 2021 – December 22

December 22 – Lily and Kaylee

Once the candle had been lit, Brynna stepped back, and Molly’s nieces Lily and Kaylee stepped forward together. Their faces shone with excitement: they both adored both the Snow Queen and Old Man Winter. Molly wondered how long the negotiations had been over choosing ornaments. 

Jade smiled at the two girls, and Molly realized with a start that they were nearly as tall as the Snow Queen. In fact, Lily could look her straight in the eyes, and Kaylee wasn’t far behind.

“We decided to go together on an ornament,” Kaylee said. 

Lily nodded agreement. “Because one of the best things about the Christmas season is being together,” she said, and looked at Kaylee. “Okay?”

Kaylee reached into the pocket of her coat. The grey surrounded Molly and Schrodinger before she could see the ornament. 

When it cleared, both Molly and Schrodinger recognized the Barrett household. Molly’s parents owned a large rambling house on one of the many roads that meandered around Carter’s Cove, and until recently, it had been where the Barrett clan had celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The huge living room, filled with inviting couches and chairs, held not only the large tree, decorated with several generations’ worth of ornaments, but a fieldstone mantel over the fireplace. All the stockings were hung up, and since they were full, Molly guessed it must have been after Santa had come and gone.

“Shush!” A little voice said behind her, and Molly watched as a younger Lily, perhaps eight or nine, crept into the room, followed closely by her younger sister. “If we’re too loud, Dad will send us back to bed, and we won’t be able to see if it happened.”

Kaylee screwed up her face, pantomiming zipping her lips together, and Lily giggled a bit before she caught herself. The two paused, obviously checking to see if they’d be caught. When everything stayed quiet, they moved over to the window, and Molly suddenly realized what they were looking for.

There was an older stocking that had been in the Barrett family for as long as Molly could remember. The velvet loop was worn smooth, too fragile to be hung up when filled. Instead of being full now, it was empty, laid flat on an overstuffed chair, next to where the plate of cookies and a glass of milk sat. They too were empty.

Is that the orphan stocking? Schrodinger asked. 

“Yes,” Molly said, and as Kaylee reached out to touch it, the scene dissolved, and she was back, watching Kaylee hand the worn stocking.

“We leave this out every Christmas, full of mittens and scarves, for those who might not have some,” she said. “Mom and Dad help us collect them all year long, and then Santa takes them to give to those in need. We put some candy in each mitten, too.” She glanced at her sister, and Lily finished the thought.

“This year, we’re going to do a bag instead, because the stocking is getting too small. So we thought that it would go well on the tree.” Lily grinned. “It’s not exactly traditional to hang a stocking on a tree, but since Carter’s Cove isn’t exactly traditional…”

“It’s wonderful!” Jade said, taking the stocking gently.

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