Tom stepped into Joan’s sparkling apartment with his Christmas present tucked under his arm. He looked around at all the bright ribbons, bows and lights and felt strongly pleased. He put the red and white wrapped package on an empty chair and then took her in his arms and kissed her. “Merry Christmas, my dear,” he said softly. Then, turning back to the chair, he exclaimed, “This is for you! Open it right now! I can’t wait!”
Joan carefully unwrapped the box and slowly took off the lid. She then held up a green sweater with little pink and gold reindeer all over it. “Ugh!” she exclaimed. “This is hideous! What were you thinking of?”
“Well,” said Tom, slightly taken aback, “you just loved looking at the deer on our trip last month, and I know you like singing ‘Home On The Range,’ so I thought you would enjoy the sweater. Anyway, I’m glad you didn’t tell me a little white lie about it. I was going to buy you an antelope-covered hat—50% off starting tomorrow—for New Year’s Eve.”
Joan laughed, then Tom laughed, too.
They sat down for dinner. A big silver bowl sat in the middle of the table, steaming hot. Tom was a little uncertain about the aroma and asked, “What’s this?” “Oh,” said Joan, “something new I thought I’d try. You’re always telling me how you like to try new things. I sampled it in the kitchen earlier. It’s delicious.”
Tom put a large spoonful on his plate, then a very small spoonful in his mouth and tongued it around. He thought about swallowing it, but suddenly spat it out, half gagging, half shouting, “Ah! This is terrible! Water, water!”
After a few minutes of restored calmness, biting her lower lip, Joan looked at Tom. Tom looked back like such an innocent little deer that Joan erupted in laughter, and soon both she and Tom were laughing so hard that tears ran down their faces. Tom stopped first and said, “My dear, will you get that bottle of wine? It’s an old vintage, but unopened, so it’s new, too.”
And Christmas ended merrily after all.