(z) The Christmas Surprise

While cleaning the attic, father discovered a stand for the Christmas tree. He remembered the special stand that his mother had so often talked about. It had a turntable that rotated the tree while it played a Christmas Carol. This must be the stand that Oma  talked about!

Father noted that the stand was quite dusty, but with a good clean, some oil and a new spring, he could get it to work again. This surely would be a wonderful surprise for Oma.

He carefully carried the stand to his workshop, making sure no-one saw him and set about fixing it.

Naturally, the family was suspicious. When they asked him, what he was doing, he replied mysteriously ‘A Christmas Surprise’.

Soon the stand was ready and father announced that he and he alone would be decorating the tree this year. He had bought some real candles, bright baubles and special chocolate decorations. These, combined with the sparkly star for the top and the lametta was carefully hung on the tree. As father stood back and admired his handiwork, he thought happily, ‘Let the festivities begin.’

The family arrived and sat in the chairs father had arranged in a semi-circle around the tree. A comfortable arm chair had been set aside for Oma, so she would have the best view.

‘Let the action begin’  said father as he released the stopper. Slowly the tree started to rotate and the carol ‘O du fröhliche’  filled the air. Mother sat there, mouth open in amazement, the children clapped and tears welled up in Oma’s eyes as she remarked “If only Opa could see this!’

The family sat there entranced, until suddenly a sound came from the stand. The tree started to shake, baubles clanked and the tree began to spin faster and faster.

‘Do something,‘ mother pleaded, but father just sat there awe struck. The candles fluttered in the wind and the star flew through the air like a comet. The baubles, the lametta, the chocolate and the angel decorations all took flight. Soon the room was filled with shattered baubles and bits of sweets. To escape the bombardment, the children hid behind Oma’s chair. Mother and father took cover under the rug.

Finally everything was quiet, and the family emerged from their hiding places. They found Oma still sitting in her chair, covered with lametta and bits of chocolate. Then she remarked ‘now I know what my grandfather and Opa endured during the war,with artillery flying through the air’  ‘I am glad Opa wasn’t here to experience this.’

‘I think Oma and father deserve a drink,’ said mother then, with a smile she added, ‘Well, father, you succeeded in giving us quite ‘A Christmas surprise’.

Author Unknown, adapted from the German „Der alte Weihnachtsbaumständer” by Resi Schwarzbauer, edited by Herta Uhlherr.