Last Christmas

December 25th, 2024. 05:17

‘Thank goodness you ate all the carrots, Rudolph and guided me around Earth. We’ve just made the final delivery, and all before the signs of that thick fog reforming. 

What a night it’s been! Not as many mince pies or glasses of brandy as previous years, but at least Mrs Demurrer left out some of her homemade Christmas cookies for me again. She never fails to bake cookies for me and leave some carrots for you all despite claiming to loathe Christmas and baking. 

However, those cookies tasted slightly different this year, but Mrs Demurrer never fails us, does she? Did your carrots taste the same as they usually do? No, you won’t find her on the naughty list.

Never seen a full moon quite like this one. It looks a bit mysterious like it should be shining on Halloween, not on Christmas night. But it’s always our sign that we’re on the correct route to the North Pole.

That way, boys, towards the moon, and we’ll soon be home.’ 

***

December 25th, 2025. 05:17

Christmas would never be the same for millions of people on Earth. 

Empty stockings hang over fireplaces and at the end of beds. Floors showed fallen pine needles and broken baubles rather than gifts underneath millions of Christmas trees. 

Nobody would find out that the strange moon that followed Santa’s sleigh the previous year was the type many claimed to see when they departed this world.

Looking out of her kitchen window, Mrs Demurrer switched on the kettle and looked out at the strange full moon fading away as thick fog formed around it. Chuckling to herself, she picked up the plate the Christmas cookies had been placed on the previous night and slid them into the kitchen bin. She knew this was the last Christmas she’d have to bake Christmas cookies.

Image for the short story Last Christmas, showing Santa on his sleigh being pulled by three reindeers
Last Christmas

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Do You Believe In Father Christmas?

When I was eight-years old, I did the most despicable thing.

On Christmas Eve 1970, I told my five- year old sister that there was no such thing as Father Christmas. She was horrified.

Telling her that Father Christmas did not exist was the worst thing I ever did.

My mother was so angry with me. She sent me to my room.

I missed supper. I missed the carol-singers outside our house.

I missed seeing the first snowflakes of what was to be my first white Christmas. And I missed the evening of Christmas Eve, my favourite time of the year.

However, worse was to come.

I cried myself to sleep, blaming Father Christmas for what had happened.

Sometime during the night, I was woken by hands around my throat.

“You evil boy!” boomed the voice. I was too frightened to open my eyes.

“Open your eyes, boy! Do it, or you will never see Christmas again.”

He forced me to open my eyes. I don’t know how he did it but he somehow did.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I was shocked beyond belief. It was Father Christmas who had his hands around my throat.

“You never, never tell anyone ever again that I do not exist. Do you understand me, boy?” I tried nodding my head, despite being in complete shock.

“Good. Now, look deep into my eyes.”

Seconds later, I saw a flock of robins in his eyes and, before I knew it, they were propelled into my eyes.

The screeching sound they made hurt my ears. I could not scream for help to my mother or father because of the tightly gripped hands around my throat. I finally managed to close my eyes and the screeching robins and hands around my throat disappeared.

Terrified by what had happened, I crawled under my bed. I curled up into a tiny ball and shivered the night away. Sleep did come but only briefly.

It was the sound of laughter that woke me.

I could hear the muffled voices of my family. It was Christmas morning and they were already downstairs.

How could they have forgotten to wake me up?

I crawled out from under my bed and made my way past the open door of my bedroom. On the floor, at the top of the stairs, were two empty Christmas stockings. How could they have emptied their stockings without me?

I ran down the stairs and into the lounge, which was lit up with Christmas lights.

“Mum, Dad, Julie…I’m sorry,” I cried, but none of them took any notice of me. “Please forgive me, don’t spoil Christmas.” But it was no good, they just ignored me.

That’s when I saw the strange boy.

“Oh, that’s lovely, Hugh. Grandma sure knows how to knit Christmas jumpers,” laughed Dad, as he hugged the strange boy.

For the rest of the day, I watched as the boy with my name took my place. Nobody bothered me. Nobody even noticed I was there. It was as if I were a ghost.

I finally went to bed and cried myself to sleep. The whole family had arrived at our house and a Christmas party was in full swing.

The next morning, my mother woke me up.

“Are you feeling better, Hugh?”

“Are you talking to me?” I asked her.

“Of course, I am. Who else goes by your name in this house? Come on, it’s Boxing Day and we need to get over to Grandma’s house.”

I didn’t ever say anything to anybody about what had happened, and I didn’t see the strange-looking boy with my name again.

Well, I didn’t see him until the following Christmas Day when the whole thing happened again. And it’s happened every Christmas since then.

You see, my place is now taken by a ghost, but only on that one day of the year when I become a ghost.

I’m so happy and thankful that it’s not Christmas every day.

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

#fiction #christmas #shortstory #shortstories

Story taken from the short story collection Glimpses – Available on Amazon.

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