So let’s continue the fun with another Christmas short-short. This one’s dedicated to those of you who live where it’s sunny and hot at Christmas time! Enjoy!

White Hot Christmas

White sunlight poured through the rec room window and reflected off the tinsel hung around its frame. Cotton lay along the sill in imitation of snow covered hills; a miniature recreation of Santa’s sleigh took center stage. Outside stretched miles of white beach, blue ocean, and golden sun-worshipers. On the radio, Bing Crosby crooned his most famous tune.

“White Christmas! Bah! Humbug!”

“Charles, what on earth is wrong? It’s not like you to be such a Scrooge.” Emma finished stitching the trim on the red Santa suit and bit off the thread between her teeth. “Here,” she said, handing him the suit. “You’re all set.”

Charles threw his arms in the air and paced in front of the air conditioner. “I won’t do it. It’s 100 degrees out there and if I’m stuck in that suit, I’ll have a stroke. For cryin’ out loud, this isn’t the North Pole. Santa should wear tank tops and shorts.”

Emma’s chest heaved an exaggerated sigh. “Well, Charles, if you don’t mind disappointing your grandchildren…”

“Don’t give me that. You’re not going to make me feel guilty. Not this time, Emma.”

“I wasn’t trying to make you feel guilty. I was supporting your decision.”

Emma walked to the small refrigerator they kept in the corner and pulled out a beer. She popped the tab and handed it to Charles, who nodded his thanks, pressed the cold can against his throat for a second, the gulped it down.

“Why the hell do I have to dress up like Santa Claus? The kids are going to know it’s me anyway.”

“Not the littlest ones, dear. Steven’s family is used to New England Christmases. Santa wears the red suit and drives a sleigh with reindeer. Why I’m sure Steven wouldn’t even have brought the children down here if he knew you wanted to spoil tradition and have Santa wear shorts.” Emma wrinkled her nose and pouted. “You never used to mind dressing up like Santa.”

“That was when we lived in Connecticut! It was COLD there!”

“Don’t shout at me.”

Emma glanced at the clock hanging over the artificial fireplace, where handmade stockings hung for each of her grandchildren. She sighed again. “Look, it doesn’t matter to me, but if you’re not going to do this, I’ll need to let Steven know so he can explain to the kids why Santa won’t be here tonight.”

Charles frowned and swallowed the last mouthful of his beer. “All right, all right. I’ll wear the damn suit! But I’m not putting it on till the last minute and it’s coming off as soon as the gifts are given out.”

Emma pounced on him, throwing her arms around his neck, nearly knocking him over. “Oh thank you, Charles!” She kissed him on both cheeks then smack on the lips. “You don’t know how much this means to me.”

“Yeah, I do. But if Santa’s going to wear that suit, he better have some of your homemade gingerbread cookies for his troubles.”

“I get started on them right now.”

“Good. If I’m gonna sweat, so should you.”

On the radio cheerful voices began singing, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”.

“Bah humbug,” he said as he whistled his way toward freshly baked cookies.

~Elise Skidmore ©2019

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