It was a simple gift, wooden body, metal legs, and nine, not eight accessories. He sanded the carriage, and stained it candy apple red. The metal legs were polished until his face was reflected in it.
One, two, four, six, nine, were set into place. Grandma’s old batting had been tightly secured around each of their wooden frames. The cloth, shoe polish, and brush work finished off Rudolph and his company.
The toymaker was a little more involved, taking three dollars in red velvet from the store in town. Bleached cotton from an old mop made up Santa’s beard.
At last, three months work had paid off. Grandpa wrapped the oversized gift in muslin. He’d sleep late on Christmas morning, but it would be worth it.
The day went pretty much as expected. The smell of coffee woke him, as he heard giggles follow the sound of Grandma down to the kitchen. A hearty breakfast followed.
Appetites suffered as children and grown ups alike pretended they weren’t anxious to rip into the gifts in the next room. One in particular was the most excited of all.
She had promised not to peak under the tarp in his workshop, but it took all her will to keep it. Finally, child after child, no matter what age, ripped into the wrapping.
It was a horrible thing to do, but he saved this gift for last. As it was to be the culmination of a promise made the year before, to the woman he loved.
After the tree was moved, the lights stilled, and the wrapping thrown away last year. Charles heard a sigh, followed by a lovely wistful voice. “Christmas is over for anohter year.”
It was a few minutes later, as she held the stocking in her hand by the mantle, that he noticed the huge bare spot on the hearth. He knew instantly what would fill it, and that regardless of what others said, one Christmas ornament would never leave the home again.
Her eyes, not as young, but just as bright, glowed when she saw her gift. Her laughter filled the room. “It’s perfect.”
She whispered, as a Christmas kiss rewarded her husband with an equally perfect gift. “What a beautiful Christmas.” He said, and there were no sighs that year.