She crossed over to Fifth Avenue and walked down the busy sidewalk, dazzled by the constant movement and energy of the city. Most of the department store windows were already decorated for Christmas, but a few were still being draped in lights and decorations. The excitement of the holidays was palpable, and Lillian found herself enjoying the rush and swirl of the season.
She had been to the city many times, but mostly on the weekends, and never in this exuberant frame of mind. The softly falling snow was slowly accumulating on the awnings and tree limbs, outlining everything in white, and adding to the sense of it being Christmastime.
Lillian stopped to admire a candy store, glittering with tinsel and garlands and ornaments. The window displayed beautiful tins of chocolates and golden boxes of candies and miniature marzipan fruits. Among the sweets, several wooden nutcrackers – red, gold, blue, and green – stood sentinel.
Her heart lifted as she suddenly remembered the Christmas that her parents took her and Annette to see the Nutcracker Suite. She had fallen in love with the story and the music, and was further transported by the surprise gifts awaiting her and Annette at home – two handsome nutcracker figures – hers blue and Annette’s red. They had named them Ludwig and Wolfgang and set them on the mantel every Christmas.
Lillian opened the door, and uttered a soft “Oh!” as she clasped her hands together. The air shimmered with silvery notes coming from a large, upright Victorian music box. She walked closer to it and watched the disc as it slowly rotated, filling the air with a delicate, glittering melody.
She took her time strolling around the little shop – it was a true Christmas fairyland! She would bring Tommy and Gabriel here on one of their trips into the city – they would love it so. After carefully looking at all the choices, she purchased six hooked candy canes for their Christmas tree, a small bag of colorful swirled hard candy, and six chocolate mice for Tommy and Gabriel. Her heart swelled in anticipation at giving them to the boys.
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