The Year Without A Santa Claus
Written by
Ann Lineberger
January 2020
Written by
Ann Lineberger
January 2020

I usually start at the top. And move slowly down, wrapping around and around and around until I run out of lights. Then I start the second string. And then, the third. 

I’m assigned the job of untangling the lights. Our mother heaps them into a cardboard box every January and shouts at me when I offer to do it differently.

I waited until the twins, my little brothers, were in the basement watching Christmas specials. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Frosty the Snowman. The Year Without a Santa Claus. It had been a long afternoon for them. Our mother is always in a panic the day we get the tree. Some seasons are worse than others. This morning, before we went to pick it out, she discovered that the twins ate all of the holiday sugar cookies she made for the church bake sale. She caught up with them in the corner of the living room, beating them with the wooden spoon she had used to mix the sugar, flour, and eggs. Coming down hard, raising welts on their fair skin. They’re only four years old.

I came down equally hard on her head. And then I began wrapping. Around and around and around. 

I’ll let the twins plug in the lights.


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