Christmas,  Holidays,  Short Stories

Red And Green Giving

The store opened at eight, and the first customer was the doorman for the apartments next door. Far from cold, in his heavy green coat, Mr Frost purchased two gifts, one red box, and one green one. He placed a gift in each box with a card attached to the outside. The cards he had prepped the night before.

The next stop was the diner. He ate a quick breakfast, left a tip for the waitress, and the red gift with another customer, while they weren’t looking. Mrs Hollis was the happy recipient, and read the card with joy.

“This little gift is for you, but the box is not. It’s meant for you to refill with a different gift, and pass along to someone else. I’ve supplied the first giftbox of your day, the red one. Your challenge is to give two gifts today, one red in a borrowed box, and a green one in a box you pick to end your day. Will the gift giving stop with you, or will you keep the Christmas cheer going this first day of winter?”

“What a neat idea!” The retired schoolteacher thought. She hadn’t had any real plans beyond breakfast, but now, she had a mission. Since the little store was close to the diner, she bought two gifts, and a green box.

The first gift was easy, she’d give it to Mr Desmond the bus driver. She would put it on the seat when he wasn’t looking. Who to give the second gift too? That was the question.

She took a picture of the little card with her phone, and attached it to the gift box. For the second gift she copied it down word for word. It was an act that would be repeated literally hundreds of times that day.

By the end of her day, she chose to give the second gift to the doorman in her building. He smiled warmly, and thanked her gratefully. Mrs Hollis felt a little guilty, knowing the man wouldn’t have time to repeat the cycle.

She had to edit the wording on the second card, it being a green box rather than a red one. Because of this, the message was more personal, expressing appreciation for the doorman’s kindness every day. Mrs Hollis hadn’t been alone in personalizing the message of the second gift.

All of those who continued the acts of red and green giving followed a similar pattern. Mr Desmond gave the red box to his dispatcher, but the green box went to Officer Calloway where Mr Desmond had stopped for dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. Officer Calloway deposited his red package at a coffee shop, and left the green one outside Mr Huang’s accounting office.

It was the first day of winter, December 21 that year, and bitter cold. Normally the city would be filled with short tempers, sneezing, and hurried people, but not that day. Instead the city found itself decorated in red and green, and were far happier for it.

Mr Frost, the doorman laughed as he handed his red clad friend the last little green box. They met on the roof for coffee. “Jack, it looks like you’ve had a great first day of winter. As always you shared more than a nip in the air my friend.”

“It’s not around the world in a night, but it’s a great way to start the winter. The city needed just a little more than icecicles this year. It needed to warm a few hearts, even with a chill in the air.”

With that, the man in red went back to his toy shop, and Mr Frost the doorman changed clothes. He traded a green overcoat, for a more familiar blue outfit as Jack Frost vanished with the winter wind.

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