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?