The sign on the Gryffindor notice board caught Harry's eye. 'Students who wish to stay at Hogwarts for the Christmas holiday need to sign the list below.' Harry chewed the inside of his cheek and weighed his options. Stay here or go back to Privet Drive for two weeks. Snorting, he wondered what he actually had to think about. Harry rummaged in his school bag for a quill. He added his name to the list that included all the Weasleys. He would have to write to his aunt and uncle to inform them of his plans. He would do it after Transfiguration.
Dear Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon,
I'm writing to let you know I will stay at school for the holidays.
Harry tied the note to Hedwig's leg. 'Do you mind taking it to Aunt Petunia?' he asked her, stroking her snowy head. Hedwig hooted softly, nipped Harry's finger and flew off through the skies. Harry felt this was going to be the best Christmas he ever had. Even if he didn't get any gifts. He never had before, so he wasn't expecting any this year. Not having to go to Privet Drive was gift enough.
Harry walked back into the castle, the scent of baking apples and cinnamon wafting through the air.
George chewed absentmindedly on the end of his quill. It was quiet in the Gryffindor common room, with just his brothers and Harry gathered around the fireplace. He sat back, his gaze wandering about the room. Percy, Fred, Ron and George were all wearing their mother's traditional Christmas gift of a new handmade jumper. Harry was wearing one, too. As George was sitting in the shadows beyond the fireplace, Harry didn't notice he was being watched. Harry's eyes darted to the other Weasleys and assured nobody was watching him, lightly traced the 'H' on the front of the jumper with a tentative forefinger. A small smile graced Harry's face. George put his quill to the parchment in front of him and began to write.
Thank you for the jumpers. They're lovely and warm as always. You did a bang-up job on them this year. Ronniekins said to tell you that his jumper is nice, but could you please do his in a color other than maroon next year?
Harry really likes his jumper, Mum. He seemed to be amazed that you would do something like that for him. Frankly Mum, I don't think his Muggle relations have ever given him a real Christmas gift. Ron said they sent him something called a 'fifty-pence'. Harry says it's Muggle money. He reckons it comes out to about twenty Knuts.
Christmas dinner was fun, but we missed seeing you and Dad this year. I hope you had a lovely time in Romania.
I'll write again soon.
George rolled up the parchment, and took it upstairs to his dormitory. Mum and Dad would return from Romania and visiting Charlie in a few days. He would send it to Mum then.
Early the next morning, Harry crept down to the common room. His primary school teacher had taught them the importance to writing thank you notes when you receive a gift. Harry finally had the opportunity to write one.
Dear Mrs. Weasley,
Thank you for the jumper. It fits perfectly. I really do love the color, too. It was a nice surprise, since I wasn't expecting my aunt and uncle to send anything. They don't really understand Wizarding ways.
Harry paused, doodling on a scrap of parchment. He re-read what he had written. He dipped his quill into his ink bottle and signed the bottom of the note. He would take it out to Hedwig later.