Today at dinner Clara said that she had an announcement to make. We put our forks down and gave her our full attention. She smiled and said, “I wanted to tell you, that I love you more than Christmas.”

“Oh!” her mother and I said. Andrea had to fan herself to keep from passing out. “That is a big statement.” I said, “Are you really sure about that?”

“Yes.” she said confidently. “I love you, more than Christmas.”

Her mother and I raised our eyebrows at each other. Lydia continued to poke at the peas on her plate, not entirely paying attention.

“So,” I turned to Clara, “Then here is your decision. Tomorrow, you can wake up and run downstairs to a beautifully decorated room. You will have lots and lots of presents with your name on them, and lots of fun candy and treats to eat. You can spend the whole day unwrapping toys and games, playing with new things, and discovering fun things. You can go outside and play in the snow, and laugh and sing songs, and eat ice cream before snuggling into your warm bed. Or, you can spend the day with Mom and Dad like normal. Which one would you rather do.”

Lydia had stopped poking at her plate and glanced back and forth between me and her sister anxiously.

Clara answered with only feigned consideration. “Hmm. I choose You and Momma!”

Lydia’s eyes grew wide, “Nooo! Clara, no! The presents one!” She flailed her arms and groaned in frustration, “The presents, Clara!”

Maybe next time they should go into a huddle and weigh their options more carefully instead of simply acting on impulse in the heat of the moment.