A Christmas story

It was a cold winter, one of those with a sharp wind that swayed the trees in the courtyard strongly.
Matilde and Federico stacked wooden cubes on the carpet near the fireplace. Wrapped up in their fleece pajamas, they were building a sleigh for Santa's helpers. Construction proceeded ramshackle but the engagement in their eyes was so intense that it guaranteed that sooner or later the result would be exceptional..

Suddenly BAM! - a thud coming from outside, interrupted their enterprise..

What could have happened The children, moved by curiosity, rushed to the windows. 
Noses pressed against the glass, they began to breathe hard to understand more.
“Children, don't move. Now I go out and check! said mother Luisa..
He took a thick sweater, put it on and went out into the cold.
There was no trace in the driveway. He looked up and everything seemed as usual.. 
He walked around the house and noticed that there was a box just under the outside windowsill of the living room. Closed with paper tape, it carried an inscription: “Thoughts from the past”.

Mamma Luisa took the package with suspicion and carried it into the house. Once inside she put it on the table where the children, already seated, watched her curiously.
“Mom, mom, what are Christmas gifts already arrived, asked Federicorico
“But if we have just written the letter! How is it possible? Matilde replied.de.
“I really don't know, we just have to open it, Luisa concluded..
He carefully removed the tape, being careful not to damage the writing. He had a familiar feeling in making that gesture, in touching those materials, in seeing that writing. He remembered it less shaky, but maybe time had given that hand a little shake.

Opening the box, he was stunned and smiled. Nothing had changed.

“Come on, this package is for you!”
“I told you Mati that the gifts have already arrived, said Federico while Matilde snorted climbed into the chair next to Luisa. Matilde could not bear to make mistakes.e.
There were 3 white boxes, each with a label. I, I, I read! Federico offered himself, strong in his first year at elementary school.are.
“So this says: GI-O-I-A,JOY!
This one instead says AF-F-E-TT-,AFFECTION!
Here it says, oh this is hard GR-A-T-GRATTAEVINCINCI?
“Read well, Luisa urged hima
“then it is GR-A-T-I-TU-DI-N-E.GRATITUDE? But what does it mean asked Federico with a questioning look. Even Matilde could not answer, and together they looked at Luisa.a.
“Gratitude is when you thank someone for something. For example, when mom tells you a story…”
“We listen to it! Federico replied with enthusiasmo
“No, Faith, when your mother reads a story we THANK her, Matilde corrected him, smiling..

Luisa would have been hours listening to the bickering of those two but she was curious to know what the boxes contained.

“Come on Mati, open the first!”
“Okay, I'll open GIOIA said the little girl..
When the lid was lifted, a frame with a black and white photo appeared inside the box. A lady with gathered hair and lipstick on her lips, dreamily embraced a smiling gentleman..
“But this is the grandmother! Matilde shouted. 
Luisa was moved inside herself. He had seen that photo a thousand times and knew its story by heart.
“But mom, I don't understand .. Federico snorted. 
“You see children, this photo is a special photo. It's the day Grandma found out she was going to have a baby, and that's the day she knew I was coming..
“That's why she and this gentleman are happy! Matilde said with conviction. 
“That gentleman is the grandfather, Matilde .. you haven't met him but I'm sure you would have had a lot of fun in his company !.”.
“Now I understand! Federico thundered, tapping himself on the forehead. It's a treasure hunt! These are clues and if we solve them, we find out something!!” 
So saying, he grabbed the effect box and unwrapped it..
Inside was a small teddy bear with long ears and a slightly wrinkled sailor's dress. A frowning bear asked Matilde Yes, it is the bear that accompanied his uncle's dreams when he was little. It was his favorite game that he took everywhere. He became her best friend because with him by her side she felt safe sicuro…”
“Okay Federico said thoughtfully, happy grandparents, uncle's best friend, only one box is missing ... it's up to you, mom!a!”
Luisa opened the box of gratitude and found a drawing in it. Mati and Fede did it last year, it was the whole family gathered in the living room on Christmas day: there were the children, mother Luisa, father Carlo, uncles, cousins and grandmother Pia. They were bizarre designs but they perfectly encapsulated their family, a gift to be truly grateful for every day.o.

At that moment, with a soft and somewhat uncertain step, grandmother Pia peeped out of the kitchen door and smiled at Luisa. It took the children a second to understand everything. It was Grandma who had organized that treasure hunt, it was her early present for this Christmas..

A precious gift, made of memories, stories to tell and important words.

They ran towards her and hugged her tightly while Luisa barely held back the tears of emotion..
With Nonna Pia at their side, tireless champion of traditions, it would have been truly a Christmas of joy, affection and gratitude.

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