That's a Wrap
A light snow fell. Dusk was falling and the bright lights from the shops let off a pleasant glow. Neopets bustled along well-worn paths. Neopia Central was busier than ever. The Month of Giving had begun.
Magnolia the Christmas Kyrii was part of that scene. Solely responsible for her three younger siblings, this time of year was not the easiest for her. Braving the crowds, choosing the right gift and walking through the numbing cold were all part of this Month. She worked hard to keep her family afloat and to make sure that her two brothers and sister had at least one gift to open on the Day of Giving. For Maggie, seeing the joy and excitement on her siblings’ faces was all the reward she needed.
It was only the first of the Month but just thinking about it made the Kyrii tired. She opened the door to her modest Neohome to see her brother Luke reading a book on the couch. He looked up as she entered.
“What are you reading, Luke?” Maggie asked, nodding to the book in his hands.
“Can’t Catch This Jinjah,” Luke said, holding up the cover for his older sister to see.
“You were reading Classic Neopian Holiday Tales this morning at breakfast.”
“Actually, I’m reading a story a day to the twins. I’m hoping they’ll learn something if not the love of reading.”
“Speaking of the twins, do you know where they are?”
The green Kacheek shrugged his shoulders and went back to reading. Luke was almost always lost in his own world and getting him to focus for very long wasn’t easy. Maggie wasn’t surprised that he didn’t know and moved on to begin her search. She soon heard the sounds of laughter, barks and purrs. Just as she reached the twins’ bedroom door, a pillow flew past her to thud against the wall.
Maggie looked into the room to see pillows and feathers everywhere. A fort had been constructed in the center with plushies and toys strewn about.
“Cease fire!” the Christmas Kyrii called out as she entered.
A pink Kougra stood over a blue Lupe, with a pillow raised high above her head. At her sister’s order, she reluctantly dropped the pillow but looked triumphantly down at her brother.
“That means I win, Parker,” the pink Kougra said smugly.
“You may have won the battle but you haven’t won the war, Pansy!” Parker shot back.
“Alright, that’s enough. Its bedtime for both of you,” Maggie said.
“Race ya to the bathroom!” Parker yelled, running out of the room.
“No fair! You got a head start, Parker!” Pansy yelled as she ran after him.
Their older sister began cleaning up the mess they had left behind them. Two pillows had seen their last fight. Everything else seemed to have weathered the battle relatively unscathed. Maggie had made certain that everything in the twins’ bedroom was not breakable. It was a rule that they could do almost anything in their bedroom, as long as it stayed there and didn’t affect the rest of the house.
The rule worked well and cut down on the upkeep needed in the main areas of the house like the kitchen and living room. Maggie had just picked up the last ‘soldier’, an Arkmite Plushie, when the twins trooped back into their bedroom. They piled into their separate beds and Maggie left the room. She knew full well that they wouldn’t fall asleep right away. They often talked for a bit but their sister didn’t mind.
Having raised her siblings for years now, Maggie had quickly learned the art of compromise. It worked well and issues rarely arose. Of course, the twins had yet to reach their teen years. The Kyrii did not look forward to that. Though, that was a few years into the future and she had to focus on the here and now.
“Good night, Maggie,” Luke said sleepily, kissing his sister on the cheek as he passed her.
The house was quiet. The fire in the fireplace was dying down and the clock on the mantelpiece ticked. It was the only alone time that Maggie had during her day. Her days were long but, tired as she was, she enjoyed this quiet hour she allotted herself to end her day. On this day, she would begin wrapping Day of Giving presents.
The Christmas Kyrii gathered her supplies: wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors, tape and a box. She set everything in front of the fireplace before retrieving the gift. She reentered the living room and could have screamed. Her siblings’ Petpets were playing with the wrapping paper, the ribbon and the empty box. Maggie took a deep breath gathering her patience before getting on with the job at hand.
Some wrapping paper had to be thrown away. Blossom, Pansy’s pink Angelpuss, leaped out of the empty box and onto Maggie. The Kyrii expertly pushed the Angelpuss away and righted the toppled box. Luke was simple enough to buy for. He was easy-going in contrast to the twins and was genuinely happy with any gift he received.
This year, Maggie had managed to save up enough Neopoints to buy a Green Petpet Paint Brush for Jordan, Luke’s Buzzer. She wrapped the gift and then headed to the Christmas tree. It seemed that Blossom and Lark (Parker’s blue Doglefox) had managed to include Jordan in their late night mischief. The Buzzer, attracted by the shiny ribbon, had gotten it and himself tangled in the branches. He looked sheepish as Maggie freed him and patiently untangled the ribbon.
“I’m doing this for both of you, you know,” Maggie said, running a finger lightly along Jordan’s head.
The yellow and red striped Petpet let out a cheerful click and then buzzed merrily at the Kyrii’s shoulder as she affixed the ribbon. With one gift wrapped and nestled safely under the tree, Maggie was more than ready for bed. She walked down the hall, trying not to trip over Blossom and Lark as they pranced at her feet. The Petpets went to join their owners, leaving Maggie all alone as she reached the end of the hall and her own bedroom.
“We should go sledding,” Parker suggested the next morning at breakfast.
“Yeah!” Pansy agreed.
Both of them looked at their oldest sibling for permission.
Maggie nodded her head. “That’s fine but I’ve got work and errands to run today.”
“I’ll go with them, Maggie,” Luke offered quickly.
The twins cheered and ran excitedly out of the kitchen.
“Pansy! Parker! Come back here,” Maggie recalled quickly.
Reluctantly, they returned, standing in the kitchen entrance. They fidgeted unable to keep still. Their sister fought not to smile at their eagerness. She envied their boundless energy.
“Luke has kindly offered to go sledding with you. However, all three of you need to clean up the kitchen before you leave. Now, listen to your brother and I’ll see you this evening when I get back,” Maggie said, kissing all three of her siblings before leaving.
Maggie had recently been promoted to a managerial position at the department store she worked at. The pay was excellent but she worked longer hours than ever. She enjoyed her job for the most part so the day sped by. She left work on a mission. She had to buy gifts for Pansy and Parker.
Pansy and Parker were difficult to buy presents for. They were active and easily bored. Their likes were rather fluid, often changing from day to day. It was exhausting keeping up with them for this reason alone. Every year Maggie struggled to choose just the right gifts for her youngest siblings.
This year was just the same as she scoured the toys available. She swayed from one decision to another, second-guessing every choice. She met fellow gift buyers in the same dilemma and helped them but she still felt stuck. She watched others talk with their friends about what to get and it struck her that she didn’t have that. She never had.
The Christmas Kyrii felt sad about this. It wasn’t that she was difficult to like. It was just that she had no free time to herself. She couldn’t go out and make friends. All of her time was divided between work and her family.
Not liking the direction her thoughts were heading, Maggie refocused on her mission. Finally, she settled on a boomerang and a skateboard. Everything else seemed too simple or just a bit too extreme (who buys an archery set for a child?). The boomerang and skateboard seemed like a happy medium for the twins. It would keep them occupied for two weeks at least.
Maggie got the gifts home without mishap. She wrapped them and place them under the tree. She did love when the space under the tree was surrounded by presents. It made everything tie together and look fuller. Pleased with her success, she couldn’t wait to see her siblings’ reactions when they opened their gifts.
The Day of Giving arrived and everyone (Maggie included) woke up early. Maggie handed Luke, Pansy and Parker their gifts and watched with delight as they opened them. It was worth it to see their eyes shine and receive their warm hugs.
“We’ll go the Petpet Puddle whenever you want, Luke,” Maggie said.
“Let’s go this afternoon. It’s probably a madhouse at the moment. Such a big day, lots of ‘pets and Petpets get painted,” Luke said.
To Maggie’s surprise, the twins had not immediately dashed off to play when their gifts were unwrapped. Instead, the pink Kougra and blue Lupe looked expectantly at their brother. He nodded to them and they tackled the tree, Maggie’s heart dropping as it wobbled on its stand.
“Maggie, you’re the best sister we could ever ask for. You sacrifice a lot for us and, this year, we decided to give you a gift,” Luke said.
“We love you, Maggie!” the twins chorused, extending a green box with a bright red bow towards her.
Shocked, the Christmas Kyrii accepted the gift and realized that it wasn’t a gift, it was the gift. A Christmas Kookith blinked up at her, a broad smile on his square face.
“I don’t know what to say, you guys. Except thank you. Thank you so much! I know I’ll love him,” Maggie said, tears streaming down her face.
Maggie hugged the Kookith to her and the twins and Luke piled on too. The Kyrii had always understood the importance of family. She cherished them over everything. Now, they had given her something in return, something she had never had before. They had given her a gift that would keep on giving.