It was Sunday and it had snowed this evening. You were as cheerful as a kid because today was not an ordinary Sunday – it was a holiday! Although it was not an official holiday in your country, but it was one of the most important festivals celebrated by your family. As stated in the Chinese calendar, today was the Winter Solstice Festival, or the Dongzhi Festival as you and your family called it.
It had snowed this morning and you knew that Jack Frost had came. Yeah, your little friend Jamie Bennett had made you believed in him, and the Guardians. You and him were best friends despite cultural differences. You liked him, and his adorable sister Sophie, along with his bunch of friends around his age.
Jamie was always interested in your culture. Chinese culture was certainly different from American culture. You would invite Jamie and his friends to come over to your house when there was a Chinese festival. They had experienced the joys of Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Qixi Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. You also spent your time to tell them stories related to the holidays. Sometimes, you taught them to speak Chinese with the help of Tooth.
They were not the only visitors – there's more. They were very special guests to you and your young friends, but you never told your family about their arrivals, not even your friends. They were the beloved Guardians – North, Bunnymund, Tooth, Sandy, and of course, Jack Frost. Jamie also invited them to experience the Chinese holidays. You quickly became friends with them.
Each festival was always a blast. You remembered the smiles formed by the children when they got red packets and the lion dance performance by Jack in Chinese New Year. You also remembered sharing sticky rice dumplings with each other during the Dragon Boat Festival. The time when you and your friends, especially Jack, went to enjoy the beautiful night sky and find the stars Vega and Altair in the Qixi Festival was a truly memorable occasion. An unforgettable memory of eating mooncakes, carrying
lanterns and gazing at the moon appeared in your mind.
Your thought were interrupted when you heard the doorbell rang. You walked over to the door and opened it. You found Jamie and Sophie standing in front of you.
“Good morning, (your name). It's a snow day! Come out and play with us!”, Jamie said joyfully and Sophie smiled at you.
“OK, Jamie. Just wait for a while.”, you answered. You grabbed your winter wear, put it on and joined your friends in the fun.
The snow day got funner when Jack Frost arrived and started a big snowball fight. You invited your friends to your house for dinner to celebrate the Chinese winter festival before leaving. You spent the whole evening helping your family to make tangyuan (汤圆) and dumplings after lunch.
The doorbell rang when your family were finished placing the dishes. You rushed to the door and welcomed your friends to your house. Your family greeted their parents warmly. You and Jamie went upstairs to your room and were delighted to see the Guardians had arrived just in time.
You gathered with your family and friends on the table. The Guardians peeked at the gathering from the stairs. Your mother served everyone a bowl of tangyuan with sweet
soup. The balls of glutinous rice came with the colours of white, pink, purple, green, red, and orange. Some flour balls were plain, and some of them were stuffed with black sesame, red bean paste, and peanut butter. When everyone was having dinner, you told Jamie and his friends about the origin of the tradition to eat dumplings. Unlike the dumplings in American cuisine, Chinese dumplings were wrapped differently, and their taste were very unique. You loved dumplings and usually ate a lot. But tonight you minded your manners and decided to leave some for the guests.
Once everybody finished eating, you and your friends took the remaining tangyuan and dumplings to enjoy them in your room. Your parents just smiled, allowing you and the kids to eat in your room while hanging out. They sat on the couch and started chatting with your friends' parents in the living room.
None of the adults knew that the food was actually for the Guardians, who had returned to your room once dinner had finished. You and your friends served them with bowls of tangyuan with sweet soup and hot dumplings, and wishing them a happy winter solstice in English.
“冬至快乐! (dong zhi kuai le)”, you greeted.
“Huh?”, everyone except Tooth stared at you with confusion. You and Tooth laughed. Baby Tooth tweeted.
“It means 'Happy winter solstice!' in Chinese.”, you explained.
“Oh!”, they replied. You and Tooth chuckled lightly. Baby Tooth tweeted delightfully.
“Maybe next time I should teach you guys Chinese.”, Tooth said to the male Guardians and grinned.
The Guardians started to eat the dishes you and the kids had served.
“I thought we had eaten these flour balls during the Lantern Festival.”, Bunnymund said and his furry finger pointed to his bowl of tangyuan with sweet soup.
“Yeah, but it is a tradition to make and eat tangyuan to celebrate this festival, which is called the Winter Solstice festival in English, but in Chinese it is called Dongzhi (冬至), which literally means 'the Arrival of Winter'.”, you explained.
Jack smiled proudly upon hearing this explanation.
“So, you mean that each Chinese holidays are celebrated in different seasons?”, North asked.
“Well, yes. Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival even thought it is celebrated in winter. Tomb Sweeping Day or Qingming Festival is celebrated in spring. The Dragon Boat Festival or Duanwu Festival is celebrated at the end of spring. The Qixi Festival is celebrated in summer, while the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Mooncake Festival is celebrated in autumn.”, you explained.
“That was interesting to take note.”, Jamie said.
“Similar to Chinese New Year, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. During this the family will make and eat tangyuan or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion.”, you explained the traditional activities occur during the first day of winter.
Your explanation reminded Jack about his past. He had a happy family centuries ago. He could see the smiles from his parents, and he could hear laughter from his sister and other children. He remembered the happiness and joy he spread to the kids. He also remembered the pranks and tricks he had played before. Everything was perfect... until that fateful day. The day he sacrificed his life to save his sister from falling through the ice-covered pond that was cracking. Then, he was reborn as the winter spirit known as Jack Frost, and lifted out from the depths of the frozen pond by the Man in the Moon. Unfortunately, he lost his memories and realized that nobody could see, hear or touch him due to their non-belief. He was all alone, with no one to comfort him. Not even the moon could help him – he never answered his questions about his past. Now, he had regained his long lost memories from his handful of baby teeth inside his tooth box. He was grateful to know that his sister had survived, but he also knew that his family were already gone – for a very, very, very long time.
Tears welled up in his eyes, and he silently turned his back from everyone, desperately fighting back the tears. He didn't want to let anybody see him cry. Your smile faded when you saw him not joining the conversation. You went over to him and saw his unusual sad face.
“What's wrong, Jack?”, you asked.
Jack turned to face you, and now your (eye colour) eyes were met with a pair of icy blue eyes. You could see his eyes were misted over. You spotted a tear was about to roll down his face. You immediately understood his feelings.
“Sorry about that explanation earlier.”, you apologized. You held your warm hand and wiped the tear away.
“That's OK, (your name).”, Jack replied. His gaze moved to his bowl of tangyuan that he was holding with his pale hands. “It's just that... every holiday is a time for family to gather up and celebrate. You have a family, so does Jamie... and the others, but... what about me? They are... not here... anymore. It's just me, alone, in the cold, but it never bothered me anyway.”
“Oh Jack...”, you said and placed your hand on his shoulder. He spun his head to meet your gaze. Your lips curved in a heart-warming smile. “You're not alone – you never were. You have us, North, Bunny, Tooth, and Sandy. We are family.”, you said in a soft and comforting tone.
A smile started to play at his lips. A blush started to creep across your cheeks.
“Thanks, (your name). You're right.”, he replied and cupped your left cheek with his cold hand. Your blush became redder. He smirked.
“Since I'm Jack Frost, and today is the celebration of winter, I get to have what I want, and give someone what they want too.”, he placed his forehead on yours. “You have thrown me this lovely celebration, and you have given me warmth for my heart. In return, I'm gonna give you what you want, sweetie.”, he whispered. Your eyes widened in surprise at the nickname that Jack just called you. Nobody had ever called you that,
but the winter spirit had! You blushed at the thought and rolled your eyes, trying to avoid his most beautiful icy eyes.
He finished his bowl of tangyuan and dumplings before walking out of your room. You told your friends that you and Jack needed some fresh wintry air. You followed him to an opened window and you saw him floating outside.
“Come on, (your name). I want to give you something.”, he said and reached his hand out.
You grabbed his outstretched hand, and another. You almost screamed when you were quickly pulled out from the window. You immediately threw your arms around his neck, and he wrapped his right arm around your waist. Like feathers carried by the wind, both of you flew into the beautiful winter night sky. You both finally landed on the frozen pond nearby the town.
“Jack, what are we do-”, your sentence was left unfinished as Jack put a cold finger on your lips and shushed you.
“You will know.”, he said and let out a playful smile.
You obeyed and nodded. He took his cold finger off your lips. His freezing hands cupped your face, and the cold prickled your skin. He leaned forward and laid his lips on yours. Your eyes widened in complete surprise. You shut your eyelids and enjoyed the first kiss you ever had from a boy. Your arms wrapped the back of his soft snow white hair and you kissed him back. It was nothing like you had experienced before. You wished that time had stopped. You didn't want it to end.
Eventually, both of your lips pulled away slowly, desperately needed air. You both caught some breath before gazing into each other. Blue orbs stared into (eye colour) orbs, and vice versa. Jack smiled lovingly at you. Your mind was blank. “Wow” was all you could manage to say. His smile grew as he saw your reaction.
“It's a gift.”, Jack chuckled lightly. “Do you like it?”
A silly grin came across your face.
“No, I LOVE IT!”, you hugged him tightly, sending him stiff.
Jack recovered from the shock and hugged you back. He laughed gleefully.
“I know you'll love it!”, he said.
You both flew back to your house and quietly climbed in through the still opened window. You and Jack went back to your cozy room and spent the remaining time with the kids and the other Guardians. When it was time for the kids to go home, you and the Guardians said goodbye to them. They waved goodbye to you and the protectors of children.
After you had brushed your teeth and changed into your pajamas, the immortals said goodbye to you before going up the roof where North's sleigh was parked. All except for
Jack. He said he wanted to stay for a while. They nodded and went to the sleigh to wait for him patiently.
“Let me guess, you wanna give me something more?”, you guessed and smirked.
“Yup.”, he replied and quickly pulled you into his tight embrace. You blushed and snuggled into him.
“Good night, (your name). Sweet dreams.”, Jack whispered and kissed you on your cheek. Your blush increased.
“Good night, Jack.”, you whispered back and kissed him on his cheek. A pink flush spread over his pale cheeks, making him looked bright. You giggled upon seeing his reaction.
“And one more thing.”, you leaned in and placed your forehead upon his.
“冬至快乐, 杰克 (jie ke)!”, you sent a greeting to him.
“Uh, I love to say that I get it the Chinese winter greeting, but what is '杰克'?”, he asked, utterly confused. You laughed.
“It's not 'what', Jack. It is 'who'. '杰克' is your Chinese name – Jack!”, you explained.
“Oh, wow! I didn't know I have a Chinese name too!”, Jack laughed. You chuckled.
“So, Jack. Let me hear how you wish me a happy winter solstice in Chinese.”, your lips curved into a smirk. Jack took a deep breath before taking your test.
“冬至快乐, (your name)!”, he greeted you in Chinese with his fancy American accent. You clapped your hands with delight.
“That's great, Jack! You pass with blue and white colours!”, you congratulated him and let out a small laugh. After a few seconds, Jack laughed too.
You and Jack said goodbye to each other. You stood in front of your bedroom window and saw the sleigh zoomed past the night sky. You could hear the sound of sleigh bells
and reindeer hooves ringing in your ears.
You closed your window and went to bed. You pulled your (colour) comforter up to your shoulders, covering your body to keep it warm. You closed your eyes and drifted into your dreams.