By Deborah Jones Sherwood

Avoid Santa Claus. Whether he’s sitting on a big red velvet throne at a shopping mall, or standing on a street corner ringing a bell, stay far, far away! Never tell him what you want for Christmas or grumble about your life. Wishes and complaints can have serious consequences.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head could have you repeating the same day over and over until you learn a valuable lesson. By laying a finger aside of his nose and giving a nod, he could send you hurtling into an alternate dimension where you experience what would have happened if you had never been born, or made a different life choice many years earlier.

Flat tires, rerouted flights, and broken-down buses all add to the urgency that you absolutely must get home by Christmas Eve. Luckily there is always a cheerful stranger heading your way who is happy to have you tag along. After being stranded overnight in a snowbound cabin, you realize the stranger is actually the true love of your life. The homeward trek ends with your family embracing your new love and happily booting your arrogant, egotistical fiancé out the door, and smack into a 10-foot-high inflatable gingerbread man on the front lawn.

The clock is ticking! Even if you are attempting to escape an interdimensional vortex, or desperately trying to repossess your body after being switched with another person, the deadline is always midnight, Christmas Eve. It doesn’t matter if you are frantically struggling to keep the orphanage open, save the local factory from foreclosure, or a small town from an unscrupulous developer, the task must be accomplished before midnight. 

Christmas Day concludes with treasured family heirlooms, tattered photographs, and faded letters that have been missing for decades inexplicably materializing on the entry hall table. Everybody gets the presents they wanted, misunderstandings are resolved and long lost loved ones suddenly appear at the front door.  

After a candlelight dinner together, everyone piles into a horse-drawn sleigh that jauntily delivers them to the town square, where they unite with all the townsfolk joyfully singing carols beneath a stately, vibrantly illuminated Christmas tree.

Deborah Jones Sherwood happily resides in Southwest DC. 

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