Snow lay thick on the ground, the whole town caught unawares by the sudden early snowfall. It was the beginning of December and it didn't usually snow until January. School was out early and Beth was determined to make the most of it. Mummy didn't pick her up anymore as she was a big girl now and she walked with Jack, her older brother. He was eleven and that was practically grown up.
They made giant steps in the snow, then pixie steps. They tossed snowballls and then they ran fast blowing clouds of steam like trains do in Grandad's picture books, cheeks red and glowing, her eyes bright and sparkling.
Jack climbed onto the front gate and jumped landing feet first like a cat. “Come on Beth,” he called.
Beth slowly climbed the gate and jumped. She landed flat on her back to the sound of her brother’s laughter. Winded she lay there for a moment. Then she poked her tongue at him and made snow angels. Jumping up she ran laughing and breathless after Jack down the path. They ran up the front steps and banged on the door stamping the snow off their shoes.
Mummy opened the door. “Look it's snow people. That's funny. I was expecting Jack and Beth”
“School let out early cause of the snow,” Jack said. “I walked Beth home. She made snow angels.”
“And Jack jumped off the gate.”
“So did you.”
“You told me to. And anyway I didn't jump— I fell off.”
“That's enough. Into the kitchen now. I’ll make you something to warm yourselves up with.”
Both children ran into the kitchen and climbed up on the chairs by the table. “Ooooh biscuits,” Jack said taking one and giving his sister one.
“Yes. I started the Christmas baking this morning.”
“Does this mean the tree’s going up soon?”
“Not yet.” Mummy poured the milk into the pan to heat and hung their wet coats by the stove to dry. “Daddy will go and get it at the weekend.”
Beth watched, her eyes wide with excitement as her mother got out the chocolate buttons and the marshmallows. That could only mean one thing. “We having snowman soup?”
“Melted snowman,” Jack corrected.
Beth poked her tongue at him, watching her mother add the chocolate buttons and marshmallows. Mummy slid a cup in front of each child and paused.
“Where’s the candy canes?” Beth and Jack both chorused in unison.
Libby laughed and reached into the drawer and pulled out two. “Here.”
“Yay!” Beth yelled happily. She took the candy cane and dipped it into the hot chocolate then sucked it vigorously. “Yummy.”
Mummy watched them. “The rest of the candy canes are to be hung on the tree,” she said.
Beth shot Jack a knowing glance. At least half of them would end up in snowman soup before the tree was even up.