All I want for Christmas
'Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, children singing Christ-i-an ryhmes. Logs on the fire and gifts on the tree, a time to rejoice in the good that you see.'
If that wasn't the cheesiest, corniest, awfulest song ever written then he didn't know what was. A lot of Christmas songs were crap, but that was the worst one ever!
It was a sure way of making money, writing a Christmas song, you'd have an income for life. Every radio station, every shopping mall, must have a box of old records that they dragged out, dusted off and played over and over again in the lead-up to Christmas, every single year. Imagine the royalties on that!
Whoever wrote 'I'm Dreaming of a Bloody White Christmas' must be so rich by now. Also dead, but that's not the point. That's what Christmas was all about really – the money. 'Money, Money, Money' – they should just play ABBA's song and be done with it.
They were all in on it, the shops, the media and every business that could see a way of making a buck - 'Have your carpets cleaned in time for Christmas.' Pah!
Even the churches tried to get in on the act, with their carol singing and midnight masses. But they were largely ignored these days, apart from a few old die-hards. Good job too. Churches were not the great power in the land that they used to be. Give a little bit of power to a little man and it goes to his head everytime. Churches weren't all bad, but they weren't all good either – far from it.
That was all beside the point, he was thinking about Christmas and what a lot of rot it all was.
"Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus." You can see him at the Mall, in his Christmas Grotto, and have your kids photo taken with him for just $10.
Actually, if you looked, there were hundreds of Santa Clauses, thousands of them! Once they started putting the decorations up, and it seemed to get earlier every year, Santa Claus was everywhere – in the shop windows, on the shop windows, shop fronts, cards and gift-wrapping paper – everywhere. And all going 'Ho, Ho' Ho.'
Why couldn't people see that it was all a joke and the joke was on them? It was the biggest scam of the year and they did it again and again, every single year the same old thing and people got sucked in every time.
This was not good. This happened every year too and thinking like this didn't change anything. All it did was to sour his mood and bring him down. Not good. Christmas wasn't all bad, was it? It couldn't be. So, what was good about it? - Not a lot.
No. Stop that! There must be something – look at all the people with idiotic grins on their faces. So – what?
Decorations. He liked the decorations, all bright and tinselly and, well – gay. Decorations gave the town a lift and made it look better for a few weeks. But then they all came down and it was back to boring old reality again.
The lights were good – they were great really. He loved the lights and more and more people were lighting-up their houses every year. The power company must love it too – more cash for Christmas.
What else? Peace on earth and goodwill to all men. That'd be nice, if it was real, but it wasn't. At least people tried to think like that, for a while. It was a shame, but life was not all warm fuzzies, no matter how hard you tried.
Anyway, that was not what the Bible said. He knew because he'd looked it up and it read, 'Peace on earth to men of goodwill.' See the difference? The men of goodwill, whoever they were, were the only ones promised peace on earth – nobody else.
Moving on, before we come to another downer. What else was good about it. Well, one thing was, obviously, the loot! That was good. That was great in fact. People talked about the joy of giving. What a lot of rot. The joy came from getting and the more he got the more joyful he'd be. That was a fact.
That was one of the best things about being a kid, everyone knew that you didn't have a lot of money and they gave you way more than you gave them. Honestly, kids had it sweet at Christmas. All they had to do was lay out a few dollars for socks and soap and stuff and look at all the loot they got in return! Grandparents and aunties even got all gooey over hand-made cards and they were easy enough to do.
Years ago, when he was little, he had this great scam going at Christmas-time. As an only child, with no brothers and sisters at all, it was easy to milk it for all it was worth. Once the decorations were up and the house was looking all Christmasy, he'd stand quietly looking out of a window, sigh and say, "Gee, I wish I had a brother, or even a sister. It must be so great having a big family and lots of kids around at Christmas."
It worked even better if it was a horrible wet day. Everyone felt sorry for him and the loot came pouring in.
It didn't work so well now that he was bigger and there was obviously no chance that they'd be having any more kids.
The golden years of gift-getting were not going to last much longer. He was 15 now and there was already talk about him getting a job – a proper job, one that paid proper money. Once that happened he'd have to give as much as he got.
He didn't want to think about that. Wasn't happening this year anyway, and that was good.
He told his mum what he was doing and he went downtown to draw out some cash and make a start on his Christmas shopping. This would just about clean out his bank account, but that couldn't be helped. He looked on it as an investment.
Walking past the chemist's shop, the music playing in there was White Christmas. Again. Like he hadn't heard it a million times already – and that was just this year. "With every Christmas card I write, may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmasses be white."
Yeah, good luck with that! Maybe it might snow somewhere where it was winter, but not here, not at the start of summer. Never had, never would, but they still kept playing the stupid thing every year.
White Christmas was meant to be the biggest-selling song ever. No, that couldn't be right. Maybe it was the biggest-selling Christmas song ever. That'd make sense and there was an awful lot of them. Jingle Bells, Snoopy's Christmas, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. All I want for Christmas is You – oh yes!
That last one was not just a song, that was a wish. All he did want for Christmas was that lanky blond-haired kid coming out of the Giftworld shop, that'd be choice. Was he doing his Christmas shopping too? Probably. Most people were doing it.
The kid spotted him and smiled a greeting, "Heya Harry."
Man! He was such a gorgeous piece of work, a real work of art and beautiful all over. He was beautiful on the inside too when you got to know him, which Harrison did. He'd known him since forever, all their lives really. All their school lives anyway.
They'd been classmates ever since day one. They usually sat together, sharing their work and doing projects together.
"Hi, Raph," Harrison grinned in return. "Doing the Christmas shopping?"
"Yeah. Trying to anyway. I don't know what to get for Libby or Shania. They've both given me a list of stuff they don't want."
"Thought of a box of nice smelling soap or shampoo or something?"
"Soap and shampoo are on the list of don't wants."
"Too bad. I guess sometimes it's good not having any sisters."
"You can have some of my sisters if you like. I've got far too many of them."
"Thanks, but no thanks. One sister would be one too many sometimes."
"Sometimes? Try lots of times!" Raphael grinned. "I'd better keep moving. See you around, Harry."
"Yeah, probably. See you, Raph. Hey, have you thought about chocolates? Girls like chocolates."
"They're not the only ones. Chocolate sounds good, thanks, Harry. I'll see what the sooper-dooper market has got. 'Bye."
They parted and Harrison grinned as he watched Raphael head up the side street to the Supermarket. He was pleased he'd made a suggestion and Raph liked it. That was good.
Even from the back, the boy looked good – that long, straight and very blond hair just covering his collar and those long, long slender legs! Thank goodness someone thought of skinny jeans. Wow.
Raphael was the name of an angel, wasn't it? It was now – a gorgeous and wingless angel. It was also the name of a teenage mutant ninja turtle, but he didn't want to think about that.
'Now there's someone who I wouldn't mind having to buy a Christmas present for. It'd be worth it just to make him smile, even if I didn't get to watch.'
And that was when Harrison had his brilliant idea. Why couldn't he buy Raphael a present? He wouldn't have to know where it came from. It could be anonymous like something from a Valentine's Day secret admirer.
Yes! Why not? That was exactly what he was going to do. He'd get him a box of chocolates, just a little one. Cadbury's Roses would be ideal. Everyone liked them, didn't they? Raphael said he liked chocolates, didn't he?
He'd get him a box of chocolates and a Valentine's Day card. Because – why not? Yes. People didn't usually give anonymous gifts at Christmas, but there was no reason not to. Every tradition must've started sometime.
He did that. He bought a box of Cadbury's Roses and a Valentine's card and put them in a courier envelope which he addressed to Raphael at his home address, (in the next street). On the back of the envelope there was a box to record the sender's name and address – he wasn't getting caught like that! He filled it in with big block letters reading, "Do Not Open Until Christmas Day."
He posted it a few days before Christmas.
Early in the morning on Christmas Day, a pyjama-clad Harrison sat on the floor in front of the tree in the lounge. He was surrounded by a sea of wrapping paper and all of his 'loot'. The family had really outdone themselves this year, there was some choice stuff there.
His great-aunty Lois came bustling in, late again, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. She kissed the top of his head, ('Eww!'), and handed him a small package. "Merry Christmas, Sweetheart. Looks like you've got one more present. This was on the front door-step when I came in."
"Oh? Thanks, Aunty. What is this?"
"Open it and you'll find out."
The card attached had his name on it, nothing else, not even an address. Whoever it was from must've delivered it. He ripped the paper open and it was a box of chocolates, exactly the same as the ones he'd sent to Raphael.
There was a card inside with a sun-burnt Santa sweltering under a beach-umbrella. The message, surrounded by a hand-drawn heart, read, "This Christmas I give you my heart. I love you."
There was no name. He didn't need one, he knew that writing. He knew it very well.
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