“Shh,” Puck whispers to Beth. “We have to put on your Santa outfit before anyone else wakes up.” Beth grins at him and starts trying to babble, which makes Puck shake his head and shush her again. Once she’s in the Santa outfit, Puck picks her up and puts his finger to his lips again. “Ready to go tell Uncle Finn it’s Christmas?”
The string of syllables that comes out of her mouth sounds like it has at least a couple of ‘f’ sounds in it, and a few ‘d’ as well, and Puck grins at her as they creep up on Finn, lying in bed, and Puck carefully places her on Finn’s chest.
“Now say ‘Merry Christmas!’” Puck tells Beth.
“You can do it, Beej,” Finn says. “Merry Christmas!”
Beth squeals loudly when she hears Finn, babbling again, this time with extra ‘b’ sounds. “Well, everyone else’ll be awake now,” Puck says wryly. “Turn the lamp on and look.”
Finn leans over and clicks on the lamp, then starts to laugh. “She’s a Santa baby!”
“Hey, that’s SantaBeth to you,” Puck jokes. “I’m pretty sure you two are in a race to see who’s the most excited about this morning, though.”
“I think Beej’s excited about being awake,” Finn says. “I don’t think she really gets the whole Santa Claus thing yet.”
“And ‘cause you’re excited,” Puck points out, scooping Beth back up off Finn’s chest. “You want to go see what Santa brought, Bethie?” Beth squeals again, and Puck props her up on the floor. “You think we should try to walk her between us?”
“Yeah, I think she’ll be doing it for real before too long,” Finn says. He stands up and stretches, feeling around on the floor with his feet until he finds his ginormous slippers.
“That’s our girl, ahead of the curve,” Puck agrees, offering Beth his free hand for a high five. “Soon, Beth,” he says with a laugh. “Grab Uncle Finn’s hand, okay?”
Finn has to lean way over to take Beth’s hand, walking with his knees bent and his back hunched so he can keep hold of it. Beth babbles again as they head into the hall, and Puck shakes his head with a grin on his face.
“You gotta grow faster, Beth, so we don’t have to spend a fortune on back surgery for Uncle Finn.”
“You can rub the knots out when we sit down,” Finn suggests.
“It’s Christmas,” Puck points out wryly, “and it’s Beth’s first Christmas. We’re gonna be lucky to get to sit down.” When they reach the tree, lights already on, Beth squeals and bounces her knees, pulling one hand free to wave in the direction of the presents.
She bounces vigorously enough that she sits down on top of Finn’s slipper looking surprised within just a few more seconds.
“Uh-oh, Beej! Did you fall down?” Finn asks. “Christmas is just too much for her.”
“Guess you’ll have to help her see what Santa brought, then,” Puck says. “I know that’s asking a lot of you.” Despite his earlier words, Puck sits on the edge of the chair closest to the tree and presents. “C’mon you Christmas fiends.”
“Hold on! Hold on!” Carole calls from the other room. “I’m getting my camera! Don’t you dare start without me.”
“Then get your camera faster, Mom!” Finn shouts back. “Beej wants to rip up some paper!”
“And eat it,” Puck adds. “Don’t forget she wants to eat it.” He grins at Finn. “We expect you not to eat your wrapping paper, though.”
“I can eat my wrapping paper if I want to, ‘cause you’re not the boss of me.” Finn scoops Beth up and hoists her in the air. “Mean old Dad isn’t the boss of you and me, is he?”
“I’m here!” Carole says, hurrying into the room. “Finn Hudson, you put that baby down so she can open some presents!”
“Granny Carole’s not the boss of you and me either,” Finn stage whispers, but he does put Beth down on the floor in front of a present. Carole snaps several pictures of Beth patting the box and then tearing at the bow and the paper.
“You did make sure that one was for her, right?” Puck asks, nudging Finn’s foot with his own.
“Doesn’t matter. The Beej wants what the Beej wants,” Finn proclaims. “And you saw you had a stocking over there, right?”
“Santa bring me coal?” Puck jokes.
“Guess you’d better check.”
“Yeah?” Puck says as he stands up, but he doesn’t go for the stocking, instead tugging Finn closer and giving him a slow kiss while Carole snaps even more pictures of Beth.
“No, no, Beth!” Carole explains. “We don’t eat the bow!”
Puck pulls away from Finn and laughs. “Yeah, she takes after you when it comes to eating.”