’Twas the night before Christmas, and the children lay in their beds dreaming of sugar-plums and Sony Playstations. The wife and I had settled in for a long winter’s nap, with the hope of a session of slap-and-tickle once the kids were solidly asleep.
A clattering crash, the sort that might be made by a freight train full of scrap iron colliding with an eighteen-wheeler fully loaded with live pigs, caused me to spring out of bed to see just what was going on. Yanking aside the blinds, I thought I saw a miniature toboggan or bobsled careening through the treetops. Was I hallucinating? I wondered.
A thud came from the roof, followed by the sound of a massive object sliding down the chimney. I wasn’t hallucinating after all, I decided. As I ran into the den, I heard a muffled curse as whoever-it-was barked his shin against the andirons.
He was a sight, standing there in front of the hearth. Dressed in fur from head to foot, his clothes were tarnished with ashes and soot from his hasty trip down the flue. His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; those rosy cheeks were, on closer examination, crisscrossed with hundreds of thin red scars.
He took a box from his huge sack and placed it carefully under the tree. He then, in a completely inexplicable gesture, laid his finger aside of his nose. Was he trying to shoot me the bird and missed? Before I could decide whether to be amused or insulted, he vanished back up the chimney, quick as he arrived.
The mystery was solved on Christmas morning when we opened the box, which contained a gorgeous set of Japanese cutlery. Why, we had been visited by none other than...
[Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends!]