Silver Bells and Christmas Smells | Glayden

She could feel Christmas slipping between her fingers. All of this excitement and planning of gifts, the hustle and bustle, it was all coming to a head. Funny how that happened. Every year, the nostalgia of the holidays came prematurely. The day hadn’t even finished, yet she already felt the slightly sour taste in her mouth of lost gingerbread and the haze of twinkle lights being unplugged one by one. Yet, Gladys Gudgeon was thankful for the second half of her day. Christmas at her family’s had gone off without a hitch. Her grandmum had gotten a bit toasted after her third glass of the Christmas brandy and she was, as expected, civil. In a moment defined by her inherent cowardice, Gladys simply slipped the letter she’d composed several days earlier under the door of her grandmother’s room. With most of her family members a bit drunk, it was easy to slip away back home to her flat.
She made certain to have her gifts tucked into her bag, charmed with extra space, and apparated to her usual spot back to her flat. The night was chilly, perhaps on the brink of snowfall. It was welcomed though. She breathed in deep, the wind rushing past her cheeks and entwining into her hair, long and framed with soft waves.

It wasn’t a long walk to her flat, and she made quick work of getting inside. She left the door unlocked, expecting Hayden any minute. The heat was warm, greeting her quickly. She slipped out of her shoes and tights, feeling more comfortable, and tossed both items in the corner of her room. Her simple maroon dress hit mid-thigh, the scalloped hem billowing slightly. She dug into her bag, pulling out some of the food she’d taken from the party. A plate of cookie, a modest platter of cheese and crackers, and delightful chocolate-covered strawberries she helped her mum make the night before. Setting those on the small kitchen counter, Gladys then turned on the stove so she could heat up the cider and firewhisky that Hayden had left there a few nights ago.

With the kitchen in order, it was only a matter of arranging his gifts under the tree. And like that, it began to feel like Christmas again. Waiting for Hayden, she felt the bubbling excitement of sharing a holiday return. It amazed her, truly, to think that this was their third Christmas together. Sometimes, she couldn’t help but wonder when it was they’d gotten there. And how? Hard work, she reflected. So much hard work. So much patience and learning when to challenge and push someone, and when to let them have something their way. The past half a year, being out of school, had made Gladys realize just how much work truly went into a relationship. And it wasn’t a bad thing, certainly. It made them stronger, she knew. And it was a testament to their affection for one another that they were still working, that neither gave up on the other even when it seemed borderline impossible.

She glanced at her gifts for him, the wrapping paper glistening from the lights strung on the tree. She bit down on her lower lip, wishing she could have done more. It never seemed like quite enough, like nothing could truly show her genuine appreciation for him. But for the couple, Gladys knew, it was never about the superficial, material gifts. It was more, much more, and she only hoped that shone through.