Drumroll please: Another Christmas short story is now available for your delectation from Yours Truly!
THE FORTY-DOLLAR CHRISTMAS: A CANADIAN HOLIDAY STORY
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… unless you don’t have the cash to make it happen.
When Liz is stuck at home over the holidays, she finds out that her downstairs neighbour is too broke to celebrate Christmas with his little girl. Can she bring her ingenuity to bear to show Jonathan that it’s not the content of his wallet that counts?
And here’s a little taste test:
Liz leaned back against the kitchen counter.
“Look, what do you mean you can’t afford Christmas? You can’t be that broke!”
“Yes, I’m that broke! I mean, just look around at this place—do I look like I’m made of money? Why do you think I’m looking for work? I don’t have the kind of cash to throw a Christmas shindig, or the room on my credit card, either. I can’t just pull a grand out of my back pocket!”
“A grand?!? Are you kidding me?”
“Why, you think that’s not enough? After all, she’s just a little girl, but… Yeah, I suppose; I think the last time Morgan and I had Christmas together it came to over two, and that was a few years ago. Prices have gone up since.”
“Over two thousand dollars?” Liz said. “That’s nuts! What did you spend all that on?”
Jonathan frowned. “Well, the usual stuff—Christmas trees, decorations, food, presents…”
“Wow, those must have been some kind of presents! What did you get? Diamonds and rubies and fancy new cars?”
“Yes, pretty much. Well, not the cars, but some jewellery, and I think there was an iPhone involved somewhere, or an iPad, or another i-something. I just can’t do that this year.”
“No, of course not! That’s crazy anyway. But that doesn’t mean you have to scrap Christmas altogether! Just keep it simple,” Liz said.
Jonathan reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a handful of carrots.
“Look,” he said gruffly, “can we please just drop it? I can’t even afford a simple Christmas. God knows I’d let Katie have a Christmas, but I just haven’t got the money.”
“Okay, I know this is totally intrusive—sorry—but are you so totally broke you can’t even afford groceries?”
He gave her a look. “No,” he said, “but just about. There’s barely anything extra.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “Okay, here, that’s as far as it goes. I can spare a twenty.” He took out a green bill and tossed it on the counter, Queen Elizabeth landing upmost.
“Hah!” cried Liz. “See, that’s not nothing!”
Jonathan scoffed. “Oh, sure, you can make a Christmas on twenty dollars!”
“Well, maybe not on just twenty. You know what, I think I can toss in a twenty, as well. And that we can do something with.”
“Forty dollars? That’ll get you, what, one branch of a Christmas tree! Or maybe one turkey drumstick. Come off it, lady.”
Liz’s eyes sparkled. “What’ll you bet?” she said.
“Bet on what?”
“That we can have Christmas, with tree and trimmings and turkey and presents, on forty dollars or less.”
Happy reading, and happy Winter Solstice 2020!