Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or any recognizable characters.
The snow fell lightly in Storybrooke, Maine. The six inches it had accumulated in the last couple of days brightened the town as the white flecks glittered in the sunlight. As the snow fell, the roads, lawns and every flat surface were covered in the cold stuff as the children and teens of Storybrooke took time out of their days to build forts, roll snowmen, have snowball fights or ice skate. The activities were too frivolous for Regina as she finished wrapping the last of Henry's gifts and hiding it until Christmas morning.
It was Christmas eve, and the Mayor had just finished putting a babbling Henry to bed in his crib. She smiled down at the little boy, stroking back his hair letting the soothing sounds of Beethoven lull him deeper and deeper into sleep. It was their first Christmas together as a family, and to say Regina had gone a little overboard would have been an understatement.
Weeks prior had kept her and her son busy as she decorated her immaculate house with garland, poinsettias, tinsel and a seven-foot pine tree that mixed with the wonderful essence of apples, wintergreen and cinnamon that already filled her home. She would smile as she decorated when Henry followed her around everywhere. He was learning how to walk, and Regina was proud to say her one-year old had taken a few shaky steps on his own just a few days ago, but she'd grin as the sound of Henry's heavy yet ridiculously quick crawling sounded around the house.
Turning on his baby monitor and giving him one final kiss good night, Regina exited her son's room, leaving it open just a crack. Moving quietly, she quickly slipped into the garage where she hid a bag of his presents, all large gifts wrapped perfectly. Hauling the gifts with her, she placed them decoratively under the tree and took a moment to revel in the feeling of having a family Christmas. Perhaps the Mechanic's Workshop, Batman Tricycle, Deluxe Train Set, and Pop-Up Tent were a bit much for a one-year old, but Regina would be damned if her child didn't know just how much she loves him. She'd always give him the best. Standing in the glow of the Christmas tree lights for just a few moments more, Regina turned to flick off the lights in the living room and headed back upstairs for a good night's rest.
The sound of Henry's babbling woke Regina up at precisely six am. She rolled over, greeted by the morning sun and the falling snow, got up out of bed to don her terry cloth robe and slippers and headed towards Henry's room where the already awake boy was standing up in his crib, pacifier in his mouth and waving his tiny fist upon seeing his mother.
"Good morning, handsome," she grinned and lifted him in her arms when he reached for her.
She laughed when he removed the pacifier from his mouth and placed a big wet kiss on his mother's jaw. She nuzzled his neck and took the binky from him, promising herself today would be the day to wean him off it. "Merry Christmas to you too."
"Sana?" He looked up at his mother with large green eyes.
She turned towards the door with a coy smile. "Have you been a good boy?"
He nodded immediately.
"Then what are we waiting for?"
Henry tore through the beautiful wrapping paper Regina had spent hours perfecting. She didn't care though, as long as that happy smile remained on Henry's face.
Half of his gifts he wouldn't be able to play with until he was older, but he ooh'd and ahh'd at it nonetheless, losing himself to the bright pictures and try-me sounds they produced.
Ever the curious boy, he began to start opening the boxes of his presents with Regina's help, the pieces of his tricycle lay in one corner for Graham to set up later, his pop-up tent already out and ready to use, and the hundred-piece Mechanic's Workbench scattered all over Regina's usually pristine floor.
She began cleaning up the torn wrapping paper, letting Henry crawl in and out of his tent as she did so. She peaked her head in with a growl, scaring the little boy into a fit of laughter.
"Mama!" He scolded with a grin.
She laughed. "I'm going to grab your breakfast, okay?"
He nodded, running a toy train along the walls of the tent.
Regina was quick in getting a bowl of cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal for Henry and a cup of coffee for herself before returning to the living room.
A snickering erupted from inside one of the many large boxes that littered the room, its entrance leaning against the carpeted floor making it easy for a certain rascal to crawl his way in.
"I wonder where Henry is," Regina wondered playfully as she set down her coffee and bowl on the side table. "I guess I'll have to throw these boxes out."
She stood and began grabbing the empty boxes, ruffling them to make it sound like she was breaking them apart, until she reached Henry's. She lifted the box a couple centimeters off the ground slowly before the boy squealed and laughed. She set it back down gently and pretended to be startled. "You scared me."
He popped his head out before crawling back in the box. Chuckling to herself, she moved back to the couch. "Have some breakfast before you play with your toys, dear."
Dutifully, the boy crawled out and towards the couch where he pulled himself up to a standing position, his mouth open and ready to be fed.
Regina spooned some oatmeal in his mouth and sighed when he fell back down to his knees to return to the box. Any other day she would have sat him in his high chair making it clear that breakfast came first, but today was Christmas, so she let it slide.
The morning was spent with Henry grabbing the boxes, sitting in the smaller ones like a makeshift car while living in the bigger ones like his own fort. He'd halt his playing when he would crawl to his mother and open his mouth expectantly. After getting his food, he would crawl back to his fortress, bringing in his smaller toys and animals to hide out.
Regina's eyes twinkled watching her son play with the numerous boxes. She outright laughed holding back an eye roll when the little man yelled at her when she attempted to fold up the pieces of cardboard to place in the recycle bin. Instead, she allowed him to crawl in and out of them, sit in them while immersed in his imaginative race track or making homes for his stuffed toys, ignoring his perfectly good and new tent, his Batman tricycle and the Mechanic's Workbench, though his train set was a big hit if not messy.
By the time he was ready for his nap, Henry crawled towards his mother, using her pajama-clad leg to pull himself up and climb up onto the couch where he curled up in her lap. As soon as his head hit her chest, his eyes started to droop.
Regina wrapped him up in her arms, her left arm keeping him tight and secure against her while her right arm supported his head, her hand stroking his soft, brown hair. She hummed softly, resting her chin against the top of his head.
The chaos before her was slightly unnerving. She itched to clean up the boxes as Henry played, but she didn't have it in her to take them away from him. She sighed happily at the sight of the mess. So this is what it felt like, Regina thought happily. After spending eighteen Christmases alone with a glass of bourbon, she finally understood what people cherished about the holiday.
She placed a kiss to Henry's head, her greatest present already nestled sound asleep in her arms as she surveyed the hundred of dollars worth of toys that went untouched.
Who knew that all Henry needed this year was a couple of boxes, some oatmeal and hugs from his mother?