The snowshoes are parked in front of the cabin for the photo. It’s a memento of a previous Christmas spent on the coast of Maine. Inside the house sat the perfect little Christmas tree the family had hunted throughout the woodlot for; hours spent tracking through the snow. The snowshoes were finally getting good use in the deep show of a cold Maine winter.
The family decorated the tree. Then, as each ornament emerged from the box, a story unfolded about a past Christmas. The bells bought at a church Christmas Fair, and the little Santa hanging from the lowest bough. The tree was decorated, at last, with gifts around the base. Finally, the family headed to bed.
It was quiet. No din of family chatter. Just the peace of an eve ending and a Christmas Morning preparing to dawn.
What was that rustling in the corner? a Christmas elf? Santa?
Why was it attired from tufted ear tip to tip of the beringed tail in gray? Wait, was it? Could it be? Heigh-ho hey, it was the gray marauder! Yes, it was the gray destroyer creeping up on the tree. His objective? The fat furry one swinging temptingly from the lowest bough and saucily daring the Grey Menace to carry him away in captivity to the dark recesses under his father’s bed. The slinking progress along the floor did not alert the fat one in red to his imminent danger. The hunt itself should be facile. It had to be achieved without disturbing those tattletale bells above.
A fast jump, a grab, a single abortive jingle, and Santa was his! Now away to the lair with his captive. Another Christmas Eve Caper pulled off with perfection!
“Georgia? didn’t you put Santa on the lowest bough last night?”, “Yes, Daddy, I did.”, “Are you sure? He’s not there now.” The Grey Menace watches the fun from under the couch as the grim search for Santa ensues. Then he notices his dad, the one these people call Wes, looking at him with suspicion. Was the jig up? The Gray Menace lashes his tail in frustration. No! dad pulls Santa from under the bed, walks into the living room, and secretly drops him into the empty box of ornaments.
“Hey, Georgia? Here he is! You must have just thought you put him up.” Georgia starts to protest but stops and places Santa back in his place. The Menace decides that the look of confusion that crossed her face was almost as good as an hour-long search for Santa.
Well, maybe better. The bows, ribbons, paper, and boxes of Christmas morning are a lot of fun. And it beats being put in the bedroom while the presents get unwrapped, like last year. Baby Jesus hadn’t minded getting stolen from the nativity scene.
Humans take this stuff way too seriously.