I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
— Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Every year there seem to be some lingering decorations to put away long after the holidays have passed. Maybe that’s why it feels like Christmas is either coming or going. After all, there are only 293 shopping days left.
Every year as I dug through the gifts and candy in the red felt sock that hung from my bedroom doorknob, I hoped against hope that the last gift I hauled out of that thing was not going to be an orange. I could see the orb-shaped something filling out the toe of the sock. Pulling out the little cellophane-wrapped sweets that had dropped to the bottom, my nails must have scraped the bumpy texture of the peel. The fresh citrusy smell must have wafted past my nostrils. But I held out hope that it was a ball, or a pair of really pretty mittens, or anything . . . but an orange. Yet, every year it was an orange. Either Santa had a messed-up sense of humor, or he was just a big dick dressed in red.
Santa left my other gifts unwrapped under the tree. That worked, because my next oldest sibling was ten years older than me, and by that time, was most likely helping to perpetuate the storyline. So any unwrapped gifts under the tree were From: Santa; To: me.
Like any kid, sometimes Santa brought exactly what I wanted, and some years he hadn’t a clue. The year I got my pixie haircut, he brought me a long, blonde wig. It was exactly what I wanted, and I tossed my head like the girls in the Prell commercials swinging it sensuously in slow motion.
The year he brought me a fire engine pedal-car, he lost some of his magic status. The box featured pictures of all the models, and my parents asked me which one I wanted to be in the box. I imagined it was a magical box that would change whatever was inside to be exactly the model you wished for. I wished hard and pointed to the Tee Bird, but what they pulled out of the box was a fire engine, complete with a bell on the front for announcing emergencies. The toy was my first encounter with independence because back then little kids just pedaled around blocks unchaperoned for hours at a time. So that was cool, but I knew somewhere there was a little kid who pointed at the fire engine and got the blue Tee Bird. That was my second clue that Santa wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.
Eventually I learned the harsh truth that my parents were just filling in while Santa sat at the North Pole consuming dubious amounts of cookies and Amaretto. I couldn’t believe it was them putting that damned orange in the bottom of my sock all along. And while it might have been forgivable for Santa to make that mistake — after all, he had millions of socks to fill — I could not say the same for my parents. They had only one job that night, to place a few unwrapped gifts around the tree and fill my sock with toys and candy, saving the obvious best gift for the bottom of the sock.
I don’t mean to say that I harbored ill feelings over the faux pas of my parents. Christmas was and is still something I hold dear and find magical. I wish joy and peace to all in the new year, and in the grand scheme of things, I think I’ve turned out alright.
But for the life of me, every time I see a big, round, juicy orange at this time of year, I remember the disappointment of finding one in the toe of my sock on Christmas morn.
And I am reminded of what a sick jerk Santa really can be.
Cupid, pictured here, was found passed out in an alley, Thursday, February 14, 2013. Witnesses allude to the smell of alcohol lingering in the air, but authorities have not yet corroborated this. Cupid has been charged with indecent exposure, public nuisance, and possession of an unregistered lethal weapon. Reports as to whether he will be charged as an adult remain unsupported. While Cupid’s lawyers advised him to remain silent, sources say the minor was overheard making statements indicating he had been fired from his position.
Our network of reporters have learned that a team of do-gooders, led by one blogger using the alias of WholeyJeans has severely diminished the demand for Cupid’s work. The blogger posted a seemingly harmless game, aimed at making good in the world while raising Valentine’s Day spirits. The team proposed to turn February 14th from a day of unrealistic expectations and relentless let-downs to a day of love and peace for unsuspecting citizens. It seems these purported do-gooders overlooked the expectations of a mythical winged boy with a bow and a dream.
The suspects are listed in the order of the prizes they received at the culmination of this game. Prizes are not subject to be collected as evidence for Cupid’s defense, as they are intangible.
Grand Prize Winner!
This lovely lady is awarding Lois at LivingSimplyFree a big pink heart. There was supposed to be an authentic Cupid’s Arrow through it, but as his bow and arrow were confiscated at the time of arrest, none will be forthcoming.
Lois is said to have enlisted the aid of minors as carriers of valentines to unwitting elderly neighbors. Other links to this ring include Lois’ middle name being that of “Jean.” Coincidence? This reporter thinks not.
First Prize Winner! Recognizing someone who serves coffee with a smile,Irish Katieturned the tables, serving a valentine to her favorite barista! This gutsy lass warmed the heart of the gal who warms her espresso. Approaching someone in public demonstrates the lengths this ring will take to circulate their movement.
As a first place winner, Katie will receive virtual hugs and kisses form this sweet little flaxen-haired angel.
In an unprecedented move, WholeyJeans, having not mentioned this honorable prize, is awardingInSearchOfItAll an honorable mention. If this participant is any indication, this campaign may soon cross all demographic and geographic boundaries. The senior citizen sent flowers across 2,000 miles to an ex-sister-in-law. It has not yet been confirmed if these miles are as the crow flies. Correspondence was cryptically coded, as “feeling blue” and putting “the pink back in my cheeks.” Anyone with more information should contact authorities immediately.
Despite having bad experiences with February 14th, this member of the coup bought little boxes of conversation hearts for the girls in the office and Snoopy valentines for the lab. Spreading joy one conversation heart at a time. Sneaky . . . very sneaky.
Paula is an active member of the ring, dispersing Valentine jubilation to three innocent acquaintances, not to mention the “surprises” she had already mailed of her own accord before being prompted by WholeyJeans.
Kristin is thought to possibly be the organizer behind this whole ring. Claiming this is “her kind of game,” she has enlisted her in-laws as her recipients. With her organizing talents, Kristen could easily escalate this assembly of do-gooders monumentally.
Please be on the lookout for this list of suspects and approach them carefully. They are considered contagious by local administration. You may recognize them by the sparkle in their eye, infallible evidence of having received an “instant win.”
Thanks for playing, everyone! I hope your “instant win” was as great as mine.