Friday, December 16, 2011


     Lucas stomped snow off his feet before entering the house. It was a brisk day, and the rush of warmth from the fireplace felt calming. After pulling off his boots and hanging up his thick coat, he carried a shopping bag to the dining room table where Amanda was preparing to wrap gifts.
     She was arranging her rolls of wrapping paper when he walked up behind her. Lucas knew what she was thinking and dangled the shopping bag in front of her face before she could ask. Her eyes lit up when she saw it.
     “You found one?” She snatched the bag out of his hands and peeked inside. “You did! A remote control helicopter! I thought all the stores were all sold out.”
     “That’s the last one in the whole city.” Lucas pulled out the chair next to her and took a seat. “And believe me, I looked.”
     “Oh, thank you dear.” Amanda gave him a kiss and immediately began wrapping the toy. “This is exactly what your nephew wanted. He’ll be so excited.”
     “I’m sure he’ll love it,” Lucas said, looking at all the gifts stacked on the table. “And I hope it means we’re finally done shopping.”
     “Yes, we are. I know it’s been a hassle, but I’m nervous about your whole family coming over for Christmas. I want everything to be perfect.” She stretched a few layers of paper across the box. “Will you please pass me that roll of Scotch tape?”
     “Sure, here you go,” he said, handing her the tape. “And they’ll have a great time even if you don’t get them everything on their wish list.”
     She wrapped tape around the package. “I know, but Christmas is such an important time for them. Remember, my family isn’t from America and we never celebrated it. My folks never understood why someone should get a free gift they haven’t earned. This is our first Christmas together, and it means a lot to me to experience your traditions. Can you hand me the hot glue gun?”
     He found the glue gun in her wrapping supplies and passed it to her. “I’m glad to see you so excited. Just remember that Christmas is best when you’re spending time with your family, not when you’re focusing too much on the presentation.”
     “Oh, don’t worry about me,” she said, strategically gluing the loose seams of wrapping paper. “I’m enjoying every minute of it. Duct tape, please.”
     “Here you go. I’m glad you’re having fun," he said, "but be careful not to get sucked in. It’s easy for the holidays to make people obsessive, especially if Christmas is new for you.”
     She carefully stretched several layers of duct tape around the box. “Obsessive? Me? I hardly think you need to worry about that. Staple gun.”
     “I don’t see it,” he said, rummaging through her tools. “Oh, here it is. I didn’t mean to call you obsessive. I just think it’s easy to misunderstand the holidays.”
     “I think I’ve got Christmas figured out.” She pounded staples all over the box, emptying the gun, then held it up in the light. “What do you think?”
     Lucas examined her handiwork and chose his words carefully. “You know, we do want him to get inside the box.”
     “If he expects to get a toy for free then he’s going to work for it. Now, where’s my barbed wire?”

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