Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Little Something

I’ve been writing 14-18 hours a day, trying to make my December 1 deadline on a series of articles. I missed it. :( It looks as if I’ll be in the deadline dungeon another couple of days. I’ll be back next week with a new post. For now, I hope you enjoy this short, short Christmas story. It’s one I wrote for the 2008 Christmas anthology on the EJ/JQ bulletin board.




 
 
 
 

A Gift from Santa


“Marissa Carlington, did you hear a word I said? Be sure to tell your mama that Sam Sullivan had a heart attack, and I’ll be calling her about taking dinner to the Sullivans tomorrow. Gina will have enough on her mind without worrying about Christmas dinner.”

Mr. Sam? Is he— Marissa could not bring herself to finish the question. She had thought until six weeks ago that Sam and Gina Sullivan would be her in-laws.

“It was a mild one, but Gina won’t leave him even so. Don’t forget to tell your mama.” Gladys bustled away, looking for more Women’s Society members to enlist in her dinner project.

The hush in the hall meant that Santa was due. Santa? Oh no, Mr. Sam was always Santa, enjoying himself hugely and keeping everyone laughing with his quips. Who—but there he was, a tall Santa with a rich laugh. Brady, of course. A bit on the slim side for the traditional image, but the children clustering around him were not bothered. The stars in their eyes were brighter than the one on the tree.

Funny, she could remember the look on his face when she had stormed out, but she couldn’t remember what their fight was about. She didn’t even remember how it started, just that it was one of those escalating arguments that ended with her throwing the ring at him and his accusing her of expecting too much.

“Youngest first, youngest first,” Pastor Don cautioned. Marissa grinned, watching her sister Amy forcibly removed Ryan, a boisterous six-year-old, from the front of the line while trying to comfort a shrieking Carli.

“Can I help?” She hardly had the words out before Amy was shoving Carli at her and turning to recapture the elusive Ryan.

“Here, my dear,” Pastor Don with a firm hand steered Marisa to the front of the line.

Marissa didn’t have time to panic. One minute she was coaxing Carli to look at Santa, the next she and the toddler were perched on Santa’s knee. In the way of the very young, Carli took an unexpected fancy to the man in red. “Ho, Ho, Ho,” she chortled, launching herself against Santa’s chest. He caught her easily, joining her in a duet of “Ho, Ho Hoes” before handing her back to Marissa.

Marissa was overly conscious of his left arm curved around her waist.

“Have you been a good girl?” Was the question for her or for Carli, Marissa wondered.

“Baby!” Carli announced as Santa pulled a doll from his pack.

He pushed another, wrapped package into Marissa’s hand and gave Carli a quick kiss.

Amy rushed over to take Carli, chattering madly. Marissa didn’t hear a word. She was conscious only of the present from Santa. Her hands trembled as she pulled away the wrapping and opened a small box. It was another box, a tiny silver one. Inside was an even smaller piece of paper that read “I only want you for Christmas.”

“Marissa, where are you going?” Amy called.

Marissa smiled over her shoulder. “Tell Santa that I’ve gone to find a ribbon for his Christmas gift.


Have you ever written a Christmas story? What’s your favorite Christmas story to reread?



7 comments:

quantum said...

Janga, I don't normally re-read stories unless they are my own *grin*

I'm hoping to read Robyn Carr's 'Virgin River Christmas' this year. I have almost finished the series now and have derived enormous pleasure ... thanks to you for suggesting it. *huge smile*

I remember reading your short story and will miss the story competitions on the EJ/JQ BB. As a 'Good Bye' to the BB stories and as a Christmas privilege, I hope you will permit me to reproduce one of my own stories. Its one that my Grand daughter loves!

The Christmas Gift

The avenue was ablaze with Christmas decorations, all except for the house on the corner where
four children stood shivering on the doorstep singing “God bless you merry Gentlemen ….”

Cursing under his breath, Josiah Blackberry opened his door to be met with a blast of icy air.
“Bah ” he scowled. “What is there to be merry about?”

Undeterred, the eldest lad grinned. “Cheer up old man, Its Christmas. Give us a pound or we’ll sing you another.”

The youngest girl of the quartet then came forward and with a smile that could melt icebergs she caught hold of Josiah’s hand.
“You’re freezing mister, may we come in and help you get ready for Santa. He should be delivering presents tonight. I’m Sally by the way.”

Josiah glared down at her but his fierce scowl began to melt at the edges. This youngster had touched a soft spot, triggering memories of his own beloved Emma who had died just a year ago. Oh how he longed to have her back.

Visions of previous Christmases flitted through his mind. Peels of laughter, opening presents, candle lit dinners, a kiss under the mistletoe, oh so many happy memories!

He hesitated for only a moment before his scowl crumbled like a melting ice cap. “That is very generous of you Sally. OK, come on in and let’s brighten this place up”.

In no time at all the hall and living room were transformed. Josiah invited the children to each choose a present from a large toy box that had been gathering dust in a cupboard for many years. Sally selected a large cuddly bear which she named Josie, after Josiah.

The next day on Christmas afternoon, Josiah was dozing after a large lunch and was wakened from his slumber by the door bell ringing.

On opening the door, Sally stepped forward to greet him with her usual radiant smile. “May we come in mister; I’ve brought my mum to meet you.”

“Why of course Sally, come on in and make yourselves comfortable. I will make us all a nice cuppa”

It turned out that Sally was a one parent child and she was soon telling Josiah of how she had written to Santa explaining that the only present she really wanted was a real live father.

“I reckon Santa has given me you as a present mister. I explained all this to mum but she didn’t believe me. She said that Santa couldn’t conjure up fathers for presents. I reckon she’s wrong mister. Don’t you?”

Sally’s mum was bright pink at this stage but this made her even more attractive to Josiah. Her sparkling eyes and fiery red hair reminded him so much of his own dear Emma.

“Sally, I would love to be your father, but perhaps we should have a trial period first, just to see how we get on, but only if you’re mum agrees of course!”

“See mum, I told you so”, Sally squealed as she flung her arms around a startled Josiah.
He then poured mum a nice cup of tea while Sally beamed at her brand new dad, silently thanking Santa for her wonderful present.

It transpired that many more cups of tea were shared over the following weeks, until one day Sally and her mum somehow forgot to go home as Josiah fell hopelessly in love with both.

quantum said...

Janga, I don't normally re-read stories unless they are my own *grin*

I'm hoping to read Robyn Carr's 'Virgin River Christmas' this year. I have almost finished the series now and derived enormous pleasure ... thanks to you for suggesting it. *huge smile*

I remember reading your short story and will miss the story competitions on th EJ/JQ BB. As a 'Good Bye' to the BB stories and as a Christmas privilege, I hope you will permit me to reproduce one of my own stories. Its one that my Grand daughter loves!

The Christmas Gift

The avenue was ablaze with Christmas decorations, all except for the house on the corner where
four children stood shivering on the doorstep singing “God bless you merry Gentlemen ….”

Cursing under his breath, Josiah Blackberry opened his door to be met with a blast of icy air.
“Bah ” he scowled. “What is there to be merry about?”

Undeterred, the eldest lad grinned. “Cheer up old man, Its Christmas. Give us a pound or we’ll sing you another.”

The youngest girl of the quartet then came forward and with a smile that could melt icebergs she caught hold of Josiah’s hand.
“You’re freezing mister, may we come in and help you get ready for Santa. He should be delivering presents tonight. I’m Sally by the way.”

Josiah glared down at her but his fierce scowl began to melt at the edges. This youngster had touched a soft spot, triggering memories of his own beloved Emma who had died just a year ago. Oh how he longed to have her back.

Visions of previous Christmases flitted through his mind. Peels of laughter, opening presents, candle lit dinners, a kiss under the mistletoe, oh so many happy memories!

He hesitated for only a moment before his scowl crumbled like a melting ice cap. “That is very generous of you Sally. OK, come on in and let’s brighten this place up”.

In no time at all the hall and living room were transformed. Josiah invited the children to each choose a present from a large toy box that had been gathering dust in a cupboard for many years. Sally selected a large cuddly bear which she named Josie, after Josiah.

The next day on Christmas afternoon, Josiah was dozing after a large lunch and was wakened from his slumber by the door bell ringing.

On opening the door, Sally stepped forward to greet him with her usual radiant smile. “May we come in mister; I’ve brought my mum to meet you.”

“Why of course Sally, come on in and make yourselves comfortable. I will make us all a nice cuppa”

It turned out that Sally was a one parent child and she was soon telling Josiah of how she had written to Santa explaining that the only present she really wanted was a real live father.

“I reckon Santa has given me you as a present mister. I explained all this to mum but she didn’t believe me. She said that Santa couldn’t conjure up fathers for presents. I reckon she’s wrong mister. Don’t you?”

Sally’s mum was bright pink at this stage but this made her even more attractive to Josiah. Her sparkling eyes and fiery red hair reminded him so much of his own dear Emma.

“Sally, I would love to be your father, but perhaps we should have a trial period first, just to see how we get on, but only if you’re mum agrees of course!”

“See mum, I told you so”, Sally squealed as she flung her arms around a startled Josiah.
He then poured mum a nice cup of tea while Sally beamed at her brand new dad, silently thanking Santa for her wonderful present.

It transpired that many more cups of tea were shared over the following weeks, until one day Sally and her mum somehow forgot to go home as Josiah fell hopelessly in love with both.

TerriOsburn said...

I do love this story. I've written a few short ones for the BB, and I even extended one and sent it off to Woman's World this summer. Oddly enough, I never did get a response.

The traditional ones are the only stories I've re-read. Night Before Christmas, and Gift of the Maji being my favorites.

Wonderful story, Q!

irisheyes said...

Okay, Janga, now I want to read the rest of it!!! What happened before? What is going to happen later?

I know you're totally swamped and stressed now - so thanks for sharing with us.

Very sweet story, Q!?

Janga said...

Q, thanks for sharing your story. I can understand why your granddaughter loves it. Just the right touch of sweetness and sentiment for the season.

I miss doing the Christmas anthology too. I love Christmas stories.

Janga said...

I remember your stories, Ter. Maybe the fact that you haven't hear from WW yet is because thet're considering it. I loved the story you did for them.

I think I have The Night Before Christmas memorized. I read it to kids every Christmas. "The Gift of the Maji" is a classic too. I think there's a movie version running on one of the family-friendly channels now.

Janga said...

Thanks, Irish. Maybe I'll see if those characters have anything alse to tell me someday.

I'm a lot less stressed now than I was. All the articles are turned in. Yay! I have another rush assignment now, but this one involves less research and fewer articles. And the topics are much narrower. So all around, it's less stressful. What drove me crazy for this last one was trying to condense 5000+ years of the art and literary history of most of a continent into 1200 words (800-900) for the two lit articles I did.