Christmas 2026, and we had our best tree ever! It was green and frosted silver, perfectly proportioned and reached right up to the ceiling. Its branches were adorned with opalescent silver and golden balls, crimson poinsettia sprays and gold-frosted holly leaves. Giant white snowflakes twinkled in the light of red candles, suspended in the tree. A small railway track threaded its way through the branches and every few minutes tiny headlights would announce the appearance of a train.
“Oh look!” squealed my daughter Nancy. With her padded bra, makeup and hair extensions, she was twelve years old going on twenty. “This one’s a steam train. With elves!”
The tiny vehicle appeared, puffing clouds of white smoke and a carriage full of green-clad ‘little people’ waved to us and cheered.
At the top of the tree stood a beautiful angel, her wings and arms tinged with snow. Every so often she would smile and bow, fluttering her wings. In her left hand, she held a sprig of mistletoe.
At the base of the tree lay a pile of presents, beautifully wrapped in grey, silver and gold with simple curly ribbons and evergreen pieces.
“Which ones are mine?” Desmond, my nine-year-old son asked eagerly.
“Those five on the right,” I said.
“That’s not fair, he’s got more than me!” said Nancy.
Suddenly the lights flickered with a momentary power fluctuation and the tree vanished, leaving just the presents looking forlorn on a bare expanse of parquet flooring.
“Hey, what’s going on?” exclaimed the children in unison.
“Sorry kids, looks like I need to reset the tree.” I went to the control box and flicked a switch on and off. Magically, a silvery light flickered, and wham! the tree was back.
“Ho ho ho!” A huge sledge, laden with presents and pulled by four pairs of reindeer appeared through the wall. It stopped in front of us and I could see and smell the animals’ sweat. These holograms just kept on getting better!
There were two figures seated at the front. A gentleman dressed in red with a huge white beard and a red hat, and an attractive young brunette in a short red fur-trimmed skirt.
“Well Merry Christmas to you all!” said Santa stepping off the sledge and patting a reindeer.
“Merry Christmas Santa!” said Desmond.
“Don’t be stupid, he can’t hear you, he’s not real!” said Nancy.
My wife Lucy appeared. “Now, now Nancy, don’t spoil things.”
“Well, have I got a treat for you!” said Santa, holding the young lady’s hand as she got off the sledge. I noticed her tunic seemed to be under some stress. She smiled and started to unbutton it, revealing large breasts in a skimpy red bra. Meanwhile, Santa was unbuttoning his trousers.
“For God’s sake, turn it off!” shouted Lucy.
I lunged for the control panel just as I heard the children gasp. Damn! It looked like I must have left it set on the ‘adult’ version.
Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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