All night, the wind whistled and blew. The small house shook occasionally but stood firm, a strong rock amidst the swirling, rushing snow. When the sun’s first rays of light began poking through the clouds and darting across the land, the wind’s howling quieted to a whisper.
The girl peeked through the window and smiled. Swiftly, she pulled on her long winter socks and brown, fuzzy boots; tied a soft, red scarf around her neck; and slipped her fingers into a thick, snug pair of green gloves. Then she bounded outside, eager to explore the winter wonderland.
It was quiet in the yard; the only sounds breaking the silence were the crunch, crunch of the girl’s boots on the untouched snow and a slight breeze that tossed several snowflakes around her face. The girl began to tiptoe, not wishing to disturb the serenity of the morning. She glimpsed a small brown rabbit who seemed to feel the same way as he hopped slowly across the snow-covered ground. The bright rays of sunshine pierced through the clouds to sparkle on dangling icicles while trees bent beneath the weight of snow, almost touching the ground. Frozen solid, the nearby pond rested beneath a blanket of snow. No car sped by, no bird sang, no dog barked. All around, the world was quiet, sleeping.
Out of nowhere, a snowball slammed into the girl’s head. She gasped, both in surprise and at the cold fragments of snow slipping down her head. Whirling around, she sighted one of her younger brothers behind the house, giggling. Behind him stood the rest of her siblings—three equally-mischievous young boys—each grasping a large snowball in their gloved hands.
Their sister stared for a moment, then burst into a laugh and scooped up a ball of snow.
The sleeping world stirred and woke to stare at the strange five children throwing snowballs at each other. The icicles wondered at the screams and laughter rushing from the children, while the rabbit hopped back to stare at the running, slipping, and falling. The sun seemed to shine brighter, as if trying to bless the children with extra light. The trees gazed with smiles at the joyous scene, and even the pond peeked through the layers of snow at the five siblings tossing snow back and forth.
When they had tired of their game, the children packed and rolled snow until they had created a cheerful snowman. The two youngest brothers dashed inside to retrieve a bright orange carrot, a long green scarf, two dark red mittens, a bright blue hat, and large green buttons. Meanwhile, the others split up to find small rocks for eyes and long branches for arms. The five decorated until the snowman stood complete, smiling at the world.
Finally, wet, tired, but still laughing, the red-cheeked children tumbled back into the house. They shook the snow out of their clothes, brushed it out of their hair, and stomped it off their boots. Their grandmother and mother passed out steaming cups of tea, and the five settled down before a roaring fire, wrapped in fleecy blankets. The girl slipped her cold feet into a pair of slippers and smiled as the fur hugged her toes. With a sigh of contentment, the girl watched the Christmas tree twinkle like a star as the scent of baking cookies wafted around the room, mixing with the soft Christmas music. The carefully wrapped presents beneath the tree were quite inviting and seemed hardly able to wait until the next day. On the mantelpiece, small cotton balls imitating snow surrounded picture frames while a beautiful manager scene decorated the table beside the couch. Several nails jutted out of the fireplace, waiting for the stockings that would be hung on them that night. Paper trees and snowflakes were taped on the window, and a stuffed reindeer stood beside the back door.
The mother pulled out a large book and flipped to the bookmark, reading quietly to the five eager children as they sipped their tea. The siblings gradually thawed as the hot liquid spread its warmth and the well-written words, spoken in their mother’s soft voice, drew them into another world. Outside, the now-full-of-footprints-snow was left alone to rest and fill again. The dancing snowflakes continued to fall just beyond the window, promising a fully-restored winter wonderland for Christmas day.