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Christmas With The Murphys - Part I

There are 8 children in the Murphy Family.
Ethan is 12, Chloe is 11, Matthew is 10, Emma is 9,
Nicholas is 8, Molly is 7, Hailey is 6, and Josh is 5

(You can listen to Christmas songs while you read the story if you'd like)

One morning Emma woke up and rubbed her sleepy brown eyes. It was a cold mid-December day and she did NOT wish to get out of bed, NOR did she wish to go to school. She slowly threw the covers off, arose in a very half- hearted way and looked out the window.

Her eyes suddenly opened quite fully.

Oh, wow, she thought, it’s snowing!

And it was, the flakes were coming down fast and furious and were already sticking to the lawn.

She ran into Chloe’s room and shook her sister until she woke up. “Emma what is it?” Chloe whispered, still half asleep. “Chloe, guess what?” she shouted, “It’s snowing and I bet we won’t have school today! Yippee!!”


Chloe, however, was not as thrilled with this news as Emma thought she would be. She sat up in bed and cried out, “Oh no, I have theater class today AND ballet practice after school! I simply CANNOT miss either one!” she said, using her most dramatic, theatrical type of voice.


“Aw, who cares about that!” said Emma. “We can stay home and bake cookies, and make a snowman, and go sledding and, I don’t know, all sorts of things!”


Then Molly came in, and she wanted to know what all the noise was about. When she looked out the window and saw the snow coming down, she also cried out dismally, “Oh, no! I’m going to miss choir practice!”


Well, Emma just looked at both of them in disgust and said, “Sheesh, kids these days!” But she wasn’t about to let a couple of Goody-Two-Shoes ruin what appeared to be a perfectly-marvelous-possible-type-of-snow-day.


By this time the other children had awakened, looked out their windows, and also arrived at the same conclusion. Everyone ran downstairs to see what the story was.


Dr. Murphy was casually sipping his coffee and reading the morning paper at the kitchen table. He did not appear to be alarmed or concerned in any way, so everyone’s faces fell.

Mrs. Murphy was making scrambled eggs, toast and oatmeal while listening to the radio with one ear. (She already looked a little tired.)


Every child in that kitchen looked beseechingly at the radio. What had the announcer said? “Well, my dears, you have no school today”, their mother finally said, and they all broke out in whoopee’s and yippees, jumping up and down and “high-fiving” each other.

Their faces were wreathed in smiles from ear to ear. The weather forecast was calling for 6 to 8 inches of snow and all the schools in the area were already closed for the day.


Dr. Murphy was not as thrilled about this as everyone else, because HE still had to drive into work. But luckily, his office was only a few minutes away.


The children were so excited they didn’t know where to begin. Make a snowman? Go sledding? Build an igloo? Make snowballs and have a snowball fight? The ideas seemed endless.


Then their father said, “How about shoveling the driveway?” but no one seemed too enthusiastic about THAT suggestion at all. Anyway, they had to wait until there was “At least a decent amount of snow on the ground, for crying out loud!” said Ethan, always the realistic one. So in the meantime, they stayed in their PJ’s, watched cartoons, ate breakfast and ran around the house in delight.


Josh’s puppy Pepper seemed very excited, too. He kept putting his paws up on the window sill and eagerly looking out. He had never seen snow before and didn’t know quite what to make of it.

Clover the kitten, however, wanted nothing to do with anything remotely cold OR wet, and she quietly retired to Hailey’s room to curl up in her favorite doll stroller.

Mrs. Murphy decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for everyone to clean their rooms but this idea was met with so many disgusted looks and pathetic, sad faces that she quickly had a change of heart. “Alright, everyone go get dressed and then we can decorate the Christmas tree and listen to Christmas songs!” she said.

This sounded like a good suggestion, as they had all just dragged the huge Fraser fir tree into the house the night before, so everyone went upstairs to get dressed.

When Dr. Murphy called his office number to check the status of his morning appointments, he learned that he too had the day off. The answering service told him, “Looks like all of your patient’s parents have cancelled their appointments for today, Dr. Murphy, because of the snow.” So Dr. Murphy called his nurse and gave her the day off as well.

By mid-morning everyone had gathered around the tree to start stringing lights, putting the decorations and garlands on as they listened and sang along to the festive Christmas carols.

With so many hands involved, and so many joyous carols playing in the background, it was a matter of less than an hour before the entire tree was beautifully decorated with colorful lights, old fashioned Christmas balls and many homemade ornaments made by the children in past years.

Mrs. Murphy and Molly hung a huge green balsam wreath with a big red bow on the front door and Dr. Murphy, Ethan and Matthew went out on the porch to string up three sets of little white lights.


The whole house was really starting to look like Christmas, and even Clover the kitten had come down to scratch her little claws on the Christmas tree and bat at the dangling ornaments.

Then everyone got out their warmest scarves, hats, mittens and snow boots. Over 2 inches of snow had already fallen, and they just couldn’t wait any longer. By the time lunchtime had arrived, there was a solid 4 inches of snow on the ground. The boys had built a fairly decent replica of an Igloo, formed about 50 good size snowballs, and were just getting ready to begin having a major snowball fight.


In the meantime, the girls had made an old fashioned snowman (well, Chloe did most of the heavy labor of rolling out the snowman’s head and body). But all the other girls helped, by finding a long scarf, an old brown hat of their father's, two charcoal eyes and three charcoal buttons, a carrot for his nose and red licorice for his mouth.


Pepper kept bounding back and forth between the igloo and the snowman, but he was still a fairly little puppy and kept falling into the deep snow.

He didn’t care however, and was barking excitedly. He was having as much fun as the children were.

Hailey thought he should wear a set of snow boots that she just happened to have for one of her dolls, but Josh put his foot down on that one. “No dog of mine will EVER wear DOLL snow boots!” he said in disgust.


Then Mrs. Murphy called everyone in for lunch and hot cocoa. Their faces were flushed and their toes were just beginning to freeze, so this was a good time for a break. She had made grilled cheese sandwiches with hot tomato soup, and they wolfed everything down as though they had not all just eaten breakfast two hours ago.

Nicholas alone ate 3 grilled cheese sandwiches, 1 large bowl of tomato soup, 2 cups of hot cocoa and was still looking rather hungry. (Playing in the snow really does give one an appetite).


Then the boys went back outside to have “A serious snowball fight,” while the girls decided to stay in and bake Christmas cookies.

All in all, it had turned out to be a perfectly glorious snow day, and they were quite sorry when it was over.

The End (Sort of)
The NEXT story in this series is
Christmas With The Murphys - Part 2

Christmas With The Murphys - Part I, by Susan Knight
Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved


Balsam - (ball-sum) In this story we have a Balsam wreath with a big red bow decorating the front door. Balsam is a type of plant or tree which has a pleasant smell to it. The Balsam Fir tree looks sort of like a Fraser Fir tree, which is what the Murphy family has this year, but the Balsam is much shorter than the Fraser Fir which can grow really tall. Both varieties are used for Christmas trees, both smell very good. Balsam Fir is popular for door wreaths.

Beseechingly - (be-SEECH-ing-lee) The word beseech means to beg or plead with urgency, meaning a huge desire for something to happen right now. The sentence in this story is "Every child in that kitchen looked beseechingly at the radio." The children really, really really wanted the radio announcer to say right then and there that there was going to be no school today, so the beseeching look on their faces mirrored their unspoken feelings of oh, please, please, please Mr. Announcer, tell us there's no school today. Because they really, really, really wanted to stay home and play in the snow instead.

Bounding - (Bound rhymes with round) In this story we have the sentence "Pepper kept bounding back and forth between the igloo and the snowman..." Bounding means leaping or jumping forward.

Dismally - (diz-mal-lee) Dismal means gloomy and extremely sad, (melancholy and depressed). In this story, when Molly looked out the window and saw the snow coming down, she cried out dismally, “Oh, no! I’m going to miss choir practice!” Molly was extremely sad (melancholy and depressed) that she was going to miss choir practice because she really enjoys singing. The word dismal can also be used to mean truly awful and particularly bad. The word dismal might be used if someone said that one of Molly's classmates had a perfectly dismal singing voice, which explained why he was not a member of the choir.

Flushed - (Flush rhymes with rush.) The sentence in this story reads "Their faces were flushed..." That means their faces were red or dark pink. If you play very hard, run around, jump up and down and play in the snow (or on the playground) the way these children were doing, when you stop, your face is often red, or flushed. Ever watch a baby cry? Know how red their little faces get? That's also a flushed face. There can be a lot of reasons for flushed faces, but in this story, it's because the children had been playing very hard.

Replica - (rep-lick-uh) Something that looks like an exact copy of the original. In this story we have the sentence, "the boys had built a fairly decent replica of an Igloo.." Well...sort of. Just a word to the wise here, boys and girls...snow forts (and sand forts) can collapse right on top of you. It's awfully easy to get totally smooshed and run out of air to breathe when they do, (snow and sand are very, very heavy) so make sure you always have a grownup standing guard.

Wreath (reeth) / Wreathed - (reethd) A sentence in this story reads "Their faces were wreathed in smiles from ear to ear." Think about the round Christmas wreath on the Murphy's front door. The branches are curved, right? A long.long time ago, a Laurel wreath (Laurel is a type of tree with pretty leaves) is what they used to give winners of competitions instead of trophies). That type of wreath used to be a horseshoe shape. Today's wreath, like a Christmas wreath is usually a complete circle.When you smile widely, your mouth curves upward, looking more like the ancient type of wreath. We'll show you. Click HERE.

About the Author: Susan Knight holds a B.S. from The University of Connecticut and an M.S. from Western Connecticut State University. After working in the Clinical Research field for many years, she recently left the corporate world to open her own Pet Care business. She also does volunteer work for a local animal shelter and in her spare time enjoys writing humorous short stories for adults as well as fun short stories for children. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut with her two cats, Oreo and Mystic. You may contact Susan Knight at:
This author has more wonderful stories online. Find them listed next to her name in the Author section.

Interim Illustrations: Courtesy of Bedtime Story

"I have read, understand, and agree to abide by the requirements for inclusion as specified on the SUBMISSION INSTRUCTION page. If my submission should be selected, I grant permission for its inclusion." Susan Knight

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