My Friday the 13th Christmas story

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So about a week back I posted a question on my Facebook and Twitter about possibly writing a Friday the 13th story in honour of the unlucky day. A friend of mine, Ivana, suggested:

a spooky/creepy and Christmassy since this year it falls in December. 🙂 Your take on the Grinch or something about Santa’s evil elves?

Well, I thought it was a brilliant idea! I started a quick story about some Christmas gnomes that was going to be creepy, but as usual with me, something dealing with Christmas and gifts ended up morphing quickly into something cute… so here it is, the first manifestation of my “creepy” Christmas story. This is a first draft, and I would love (LOVE) constructive suggestions!

The Christmas Gnomes

Everyone knows Santa Claus

And all his little elves,

But who knows of the Christmas gnomes

Who hide up on the shelves?

 

These little munchkins do not like

How Santa steals the scene;

It makes them feel like they’re not loved…

It really makes them mean.

 

Many, many years ago

The gnomes were well known chaps

Running ‘round in furry boots

And funny winter caps.

 

They were the kings of Christmas town

Until one fateful day;

When a lonely wanderer

Decided “hey, let’s stay.”

 

This jolly old St. Nicholas

Made the North his home

And turned that pole into a place

Not fit for any gnome.

 

When Santa chose to set up shop  

In the gnome’s old home

He also brought a bunch of elves

Who made this place their own.

 

All the little boys and girls

Decided gnomes weren’t fun;

“Santa gives us toys and presents,

Your time in sun is done!”

 

The gnomes, they all got angry!

They loved those girls and boys!

So as a form of payback,

They decided to mess with their toys!

 

So any time on you have a toy

That breaks on Christmas day,

It’s a reminder that the Christmas gnomes

Are something that’s here to stay.

 

They lie in wait ‘til Santa Claus

Delivers his load of goodies,

Then gnomes come out and play about

To ruin Christmas mornings.

 

So if you’ve ever received a toy

Parts missing or parts broken

Remember it’s the Christmas gnomes

That made this ungrateful token.

 

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I am my mother (a writing exercise)

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Sometimes inspiration hits at the oddest times. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple gesture. I had one of these moments earlier today and am finally getting a chance to sit and see it through, writing-wise.

Just because you are not writing for a purpose does not mean that your writing doesn’t have purpose; remember that every word has the potential to help you craft your skill.

I dedicate this one to my mother.

*** THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT! edited VERSION TO COME LATER ***

Every year, around early December, the Tupperware boxes full of lights and tinsel would be pulled out from under the basement stairs and the process of readying our family home for Christmas would begin. This was my mother’s job; no one dared to try and tell her where to put the garlands and holly. Everything had its place and that was where my mother placed it. The only place we were allowed free reign was the Christmas tree.

Ah, the Christmas tree. Sometimes real, sometimes not, always full of potential. The tree would go up after all the furniture was rearranged (a task my brother and I always disappeared during) and when the tree was up, mom would artfully string the lights. The biggest, brightest lights would be wound close to the trunk, illuminating from the inside out. The smaller lights would go closer to the ends of the branches. The coloured ones blinked playfully and the white ones shone like diamonds. Once the lights were on, sections of them would be removed again and re-strung, then removed and re-strung until mom had created the perfect ambiance. She had it down to an art.

Once everything there was up to standard, my brother and I set to work decorating while mom watched from the dining room chairs. She would place a hook on every bauble and hand them to us, suggesting areas that we altogether ignored. To my brother and I, the tree was a place of endless decorating potential – at eye level. anything above or below that foot and a half span was largely forgotten. We had the few ornaments that were hung high because they were particularly delicate and pretty or the ones that went lower because they were heartier and wouldn’t break if they were knocked off by a dog or a curious present snoop, but the “waist” of the tree was our domain.

WE were always proud of our work, but mom, while always proud and supportive, always came up with some “suggestions” as to the better placement of some ornaments. If two were hanging too close, she would tell us. If two were too far apart, we would hear about it. So we would redecorate parts of the tree, and that foot-and-a-half window would become a two-and-a-half foot window and my brother and I would go to bed proud of our decorating prowess.

The true magic happened overnight.

Without fail, every year on the morning after my brother and I decorated the tree, we would come down to admire our handiwork and notice that something had… changed. That one special ornament we had hung in that most perfect of spots was missing. We would scour the tree and find it tucked into an equally perfect spot except for one factor; we didn’t choose it. When queried, my mother would say, almost without fail, “but doesn’t it look better there?” Over the next two days, every single ornament on the tree would move no less than twice until everything was perfect.

As years passed I still helped decorate the tree and mom still rearranged it. As I entered my teens and passed into early adulthood I looked forward to the dance of the imperfect ornaments around the tree, finally settling after trekking from place to place after a year in slumber. It became a source of amusement for both my brother and I watching mom craft the perfect tree.

I now have my own house with my fiancé and this year we have our first full-sized tree. we went out and bought some new ornaments and spent a wonderful evening placing each colourful bulb in its rightful place… but this morning, when I woke up, I looked at the tree, and out of the corner of my eye noticed that there were two little ornaments hanging on the same branch. I walked over and delicately moved the offending extra to a more sparse area of the tree. I stepped back and admired the ornament’s new home, thinking to myself, “now, that’s a much better place for that ornament.”

Then I started to smile.

I truly am my mother’s daughter.