The blustery conditions cannot prevent this annual tradition. Two silhouettes move slowly towards the tall roadside maples. In their arms are boxes of holiday cheer that will light up the stoic neighborhood. As the figures grow closer, one is significantly taller than the other. This father and son duo are on a mission to brighten the lives of every passing car at all hours of night. They stoop in the snow to drop of the first load. They head back into the large red barn and emerge with two ladders. The small boy is determined to prove his strength. He doesn’t need his father to carry his ladder for him. He sways and tips with his massive load. The weight overtakes him and he is pitched into the snowbank, ladder in tow. The father peers of the edge and sees his son grinning from ear to ear and covered in fluffy powder. They share a laugh but are not distracted from their task. They hum carols, and the boy hears the occasional enthusiastic belting of a verse from his father. The emptiness of this dark night is soon filled with cheer and holiday spirit. The long orange extension cord stretches from the outlet in the barn, barely reaching. Bright laces of lights are wrapped tightly around the wide trunks of these ancient maples. They ascend their ladders and continue the strands up the trunks and branches. Not long and these once dim trees are illuminated like candles lining the mantle on Christmas Eve. Once the dazzling is finished they step back to admire their hard work. The outline is as sharp as a knife. They stand there in awe for several minutes until the whine of a snowmobile snaps them back to reality. They watch the yellow lights bob across the bridge and disappear over the crest of the hill. Once they have completed their decorating, the father slings his little boy up on his shoulders and trudge through the drifts back to their cozy house. The aroma of hot cocoa floats through the mud room as they undress their winter attire. They lift their gaze up from their boots to see mother standing with chocolatey deliciousness in her outstretched arms. She hands them their mugs with a smile. They chug their cocoa and wipe the remnants of their faces. The mother and father exchange a sparkling look. The boy looks on in wonderment as their eyes meet. He knows they are up to something. Together his parents lead him towards the living room where a cardboard box awaits. A large red bow bounces up and down on top of the box. Something inside that box is moving! They all sit around awaiting the special surprise to be uncovered by the young boy. He slowly and apprehensively unties the red ribbon forming the bow. As this strange creature inhabiting the box feels this movement it begins to move even more. The boy jumps back fearfully. His parents reassure him it is nothing too dangerous with a sneaky wink. The boy closes his eyes and finishes unwrapping this odd gift. A wet pink nose emerges from the small crack on top of the box. Pushing away the folds of cardboard a small yellow ball lunges from the depths of the box, propelling itself into the lap of the small boy. His eyes are filled with pure joy as this small yellow lab licks at his face.The true spirit of Christmas is exemplified by this early gift. His parents look on in glee as the two companions start to form their unbreakable friendship.