Narrator: Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the promise of love, peace and joy He brought to the entire world. It is also a time that evokes memories of our childhood and Christmases past; of loved ones who are gone and treasures our hearts hold dear. Letís join three middle aged daughters of a deceased elderly couple, who are clearing the attic of their parentís house in the country and happen across an old chest. As they examine its contents they are taken back to Christmases past and each has their own special memories to share with the others.
Daughters: (Enter talking to each other and looking around the attic).
Daughter #1: (Waving hand in front of face to clear dust) Wow! This place sure is a mess. I would guess that there hasnít been anyone up here for years.
Daughter #2: ( Looking up and appearing to wipe at cobwebs in the corner). Look at the cobwebs. It looks like an old Boris Karloff movie.
Daughter #3: It sure does! This floor is really creaky too. (Moves foot back and forth to test floor) Are you sure itís safe to be walking around up here?
Daughter #2: Itís held up for all these years, I guess it will last for another hour or two.
Daughter #1: Look at all this old junk. Heaven only knows what weíre going to find up here. Letís just look around and see if anything is worth salvaging.
Daughter #2: I donít think that will be much. We had better find a junk dealer or someone to haul this stuff away.
Daughter #3: There may be something we can sell for a few bucks before we put the house up for sale.
Daughter #1: I hate to even think of selling the house. (emotionally) Mama loved it so much.
Daughter #3: Come on; donít start crying now. We all knew this would be tough.
Daughter #2: Youíre right. Letís get at it. Why donít we each look in different areas and see what we come up with. That will speed things up a bit.
All: Ok. (All begin to look around )
Daughter #2: (Excitedly) Hey, check this out. Itís Momís old trunk that she used to keep locked up in the basement.
Daughter #3: Is it locked? Maybe we can force it open.
Daughter #1: (Reaches down and lifts lid of trunk and fans dust from air). Ití been a while since anyone has been in here! (All Daughters gather around eagerly to see what is inside).
Daughter #3 : (Quickly reaches in to pick up sweater and hold it high). Hey guys, remember this? (Hands sweater to Daughter #1).
Daughter #1: (Holding back tears) Itís Mamaís old sweater! The one she always wore of an evening when we would come to visit. It got so shabby I told her to throw it away and I bought her a new one. Looks like she kept it anyway.
Daughter #2: She was always cold. Remember how she used to stand with her backside close to the fireplace (crosses arms and shudders as if freezing) to ďwarm her old bones?Ē
Daughter #3: I sure do. When she was wearing her robe, she would hoist up the back and put on that beautiful smile. (Thoughtfully) I miss her so much!
Daughter #2: Remember this! (Reaches in and removes cap from trunk). Itís Daddyís
old hat. The one he used to wear shoveling snow.
Daughter #3. I remember; he let me help. He wore this hat (models hat) and I wore the red wool scarf he gave
me. We were a pretty proud couple I can tell you. (Pulls hat down over ears and everyone laughs).
Aunt Irma: (Enters Ė Looks quizzically at Daughter with hat) What ever are you all doing up here in this cold attic?
Daughter #2: (Excitedly to Aunt Irma) Look at all these old things we found! Címon help us look!
Aunt Irma: Might as well, after climbing all the way up here. (Places hand on back and sits beside the Sisters).
Aunt Irma: (Removes album from trunk) Look at this! (leafing through pages). Hereís a picture of your Dad and Mom in front of the Christmas tree. I took it when you all were still children, living on the farm.
Daughter #2. Let me see (gets closer to album). (All gather round) I remember when Daddy used to take us all with him when he went out to find our Christmas Tree. We marched through the snow, looked and looked until we all agreed it was the perfect tree. Daddy would chop it down and we all would drag it back to the house.
Daughter #3. I remember helping Mama make popcorn to string as garland for the tree. I always had the hardest time getting the needle to go through. It was sure worth it though when the tree was up and the garland was in place.
Aunt Irma: When your Mother and I were little girls we used to make all our own decorations. All the kinfolks would come to visit and we had a big Christmas dinner for the family. (Remembers and Sighs) Things were different back then.
Daughter #1. The thing I remember most is the smell in the house at Christmas time. Mama would bake and bake, so there would be enough for the Holiday Company. The smell of fresh baked bread and rolls filled the house for days. I can almost smell them now.
Daughter #2. Do you remember that awesome upside down cake Mama used to make? The pineapple was so sweet.
Daughter #3. Yes, and how about that fruitcake that weighed about 40 pounds (As if holding) and was so full of nuts and goodies there was hardly any cake.
Daughter #2. ( Laughing) You and I used to shell all the pecans and walnuts that went into it and ate more than we put in the bowl. (Both laugh).
Daughter #2. Remember, Daddy used to bring some nuts home in big burlap bags right after they were picked. The back of his truck was filled with them and we had lots and lots of them for the Holidays.
Daughter #1. I remember those wonderful evenings in front of the fireplace. (Closes eyes as if visualizing) The fire crackled warm and bright while the snow fell outside. I can still see the icicles hanging from the edge of the roof as I looked out the frosted window. We were all together there; Daddy in his chair listening to the radio, Mama back and forth between her sewing and the kitchen, and us girls playing games, making paper dolls and talking excitedly about what Santa might bring. We were all so warm and safe and full of love for each other (Smiles broadly with misty eyes).
Aunt Irma: Those were wonderful times. Things have changed a lot since then. Families rarely do things together any more. it seems like everyone is so busy now with the television, cell phones, movies, running here and there in their own cars, (Shaking Head side to side). Hanging out at the Mall with friends seems to have taken the place of the family. (Softly) Itís a shame!
Daughter #3. I really wish that I had spent more time with Mama and Daddy. I miss them so much now that they are gone. (All agree). I always told myself I was too busy and too far away to visit often. I should have made time! (All agree)
Daughter #2. (To Daughter #1) Do you remember how we used to fold old newspaper and cut out snowflakes (Pantomimes motion) with the scissors?
Daughter #1. I sure do! Yours were always so intricate, (Makes star in air) with all those tiny little stars and things. Then we would tape them to the inside of the windowpanes.
Aunt Irma: Years ago when I was little, we used to put real candles right on the tree. We had to be careful because it was a live tree. Their glow was so beautiful when we turned out the lights. (Pauses, remembering).
Daughter #3: Look at this! (Holds up figure) Itís the baby Jesus from our old manger scene.
Daughter #3. I remember when Mama would get us all ready for church. We would all bundle up and crunch through the snow (pantomimes) to the church. We would take up a whole pew on Christmas Eve. Our little church is gone now. They built a Wal-Mart there a couple of years ago.
Aunt Irma: They call that progress, I guess!
Daughter #1. When we got home, Mama made hot chocolate and we would have some of her pie or cake. Then we would all circle around and hold hands while Daddy led us in prayer. We thanked God for each other and all of our blessings. I suppose that families donít pray together that much any more.
Daughter #3. I remember going to bed on Christmas Eve. I was so excited waiting for Santa to come I could barely close my eyes.
Daughter #2. Me too! But, Mama said that Santa would disappear without leaving any presents if we woke up and saw him! Sometimes I would have to go to the bathroom and was afraid to get up. So, I just gritted my teeth and held on till morning! (Making Faces - All laugh). One time I was sure I heard him walking around in the living room. I didnít move a muscle.
Aunt Irma: You know girls, we didnít have a lot of material things back then; but we had the love of our family and our shared belief in God. That was enough! (All agree). (Makes self-hugging motion) Itís getting colder up here. I think I will go back downstairs.
Daughter #1. Youíre right. Itís getting late too and Iím tired. We had all better stop for now and co me back later. (Closes trunk and all prepare to leave).
Aunt Irma: Girls; I think I would like to revive an old family custom. How about we make a circle, hold hands and pray together? (All agree and form circle, bowing heads). (Prays) Dear God, we are here together once more. Thank you for the love we share as a Christian Family and please, let us be together always. (All remain silent and then slowly raise heads)
All : Amen! (All embrace each other and slowly begin to exit)
Daughter #3. Come one you guys. Iíll treat you all to Pizza! (Exit).
Narrator: Christmas is a time of celebration. It is also a time to reaffirm our belief in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We celebrate not only the birth of Christ, but also the love and power of the Christian Family. It is a time of coming together to remember and celebrate the lives of the loved ones who have passed and those who are with us now. Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2008 Richard Ruddle
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