Five Christmas Tips

There are five key things to remember on Christmas. It is most important for one not to forget these points. It is virtually impossible to have a successful Christmas, should one of these things be neglected. Luckily, I am here, and I will walk you through my five Christmas tips.

Tip One: A Sleeping Newsie is a Happy Newsie

Christmas morning: Iím lying in bed. Visions of sugarplums and all that jazz when--

"Oof!" I jerk up and look around wildly. "Wuzzat? Whozzair?" On my lap is a green-and-red wrapped gift. FROM DAVID says the tag. "David?"

And there he is, standing at the doorway of the lodging house, all brown-haired, blue-eyed, lickably gorgeous six feet of him. "Why arenít you up?" he asks.

I lie back down against my pillows. Why arenít I up? Why arenít I up? I pull my bedsheet over my head. "David, itís Christmas."

"I know itís Christmas Jack. The world doesnít stop because itís Christmas. In countries like India and Singapore people donít even celebrate Christmas. Stuff still happens so we still have papers to sell."

It is about here that the boys start to protest. Racetrack sends a shoe at David.

"Davey," I sit up again, "címere."

He strides over and climbs up the first two rungs of the ladder so that he is face to face wit me. I kiss his right on the mouth, morning breath and all.

"Now shut up and let me sleep."

Tip Two: Dress Warm

Itís around noon by the time I wake again. David has fallen asleep sitting on the stairs. As soon as I wake him he says: "Why donít we sell on Christmas?"

To which I reply: "We have no one to sell to. Everyoneís too busy with their family to buy a pape. Itís a loss of profit."

"Then what do we do?" he asks me.

"Davey, why do you ask so many questions? Itís Christmas. We lounge."

"You what?"

"Lounge."

"Huh." He pulls his hat off his head and runs his hand over his thick brown curls. He looks thoughtful.

"Whereís Les?" I ask after a while.

"At home. Itís Hanukkah."

"Oh."

We sit for a while longer. Iím having a hard time selling Ďwe loungeí as even I donít quite believe its splendor at this point. We can see the front door from where weíre sitting. There are whirls of snow flying by the windows. They dance around smoothly, smashing against the glass and setting on the window sill.

"Letís go out," says David. He puts his hat back on.

"Um..."

I really was considering climbing back into bed. And inviting David with me, of course.

He stands up and looks down at me. "Letís go. Lounging is boring. Otherwise Iím going home." He reaches down, grabs my hand, and pulls me to my feet.

"Shouldnít I get my coat?" I ask as he rushes me down the rickety wooden steps.

"No time!" he exclaims excitedly. We step into the square and the wind whips against our bodies, plastering my hair to my neck.

"Davey, let me get my damn coat. Itís freezing out here." I stomp my booted-but-sockless feet on the ground and blow on my hands.

"Fine Jack, go back. But Iím not waiting!" he dashes off down an alley, a swirl of fluffy snow flying into my face.

So, you see, I have no choice. I follow.

Tip Three: Itís Not Christmas Without a Tree

I look quite stupid, actually. Here I am, sprinting down a deserted alleyway in nothing but my boots and long underwear. David is always two steps ahead of me. Iím beginning to think that I should have let him run off like an idiot. My lungs are bursting with crisp, cold air and my legs itch from the frosty wind.

David stops in front of Central Park. He is gasping for air. Our breath hangs like clouds between us.

"Dave...id...what...the hell...are we do-doing...here?"

He has his hands on his knees, doubled over as he regains himself. He looks up, his vibrant blue eyes meeting mine.

"Just you wait." He steps into the park.

We walk in silence for a while. The trees are spangled with icicles. The grass is covered with a thick blanket of snow and the paths, unshoveled, are challenging to walk on. My legs are becoming encrusted with snow.

"David, really, where are we going?" I puff between words. There is a bead of sweat growing on my brow, but it quickly dries in the cold breeze.

"Just...a bit...further," he says, pushing through mounds of snow. We turn a corner and suddenly David is no longer beside me. He points ahead and into a clearing.

"Isnít it gorgeous?" he asks.

And there it is--a twenty-foot evergreen covered on every branch by snow.

"Yeah. Itís beautiful."

Tip Four: Watch Your Step

After a while my butt starts to get really cold.

"I donít think sitting in the snow is such a great idea."

"Youíre probably right. Letís head back. You havenít even opened my present yet," he says, standing and brushing snow off his knees.

Where did I put that? Probably still in my bed, crushed and hidden amongst a mess of blankets.

I stand too and together we retrace out steps back through the park.

The wind has stopped by now, but the snow is falling thickly. By the time we leave Central Park my legs ache and my ears are numb with cold. There is snow in my boots and my feet feel like blocks of ice.

"Davey, itís really cold."

He glances at me out of the corner of his eye. "Your lips are blue, you know," he tells me.

And then Iím on the ground.

The snow-crunching sound of Davidís boots stops and I lie very still, staring at the sky, which is filled with grey clouds. Snowflakes fall and melt on my cheeks.

"Jack, what happened?" David asks, appearing beside me, set against the dreary sky.

"I fell. I think thereís ice."

"Ah," he says, looking away from me and off into the distance, "one second then." He walks off so that I canít see him. I canít see anything really. Just the sky and the snowflakes. I can hear David a few feet away rummaging around.

"Davey, what are you doing?" I ask, my neck pressed against icy snow, shivers running down my spine. He comes back and tugs my boots off my feet so that my heels smack against the slushy ground with a whap.

"Awww, theyíre all cold. Davey, put my shoes back on."

Instead he sits beside me on the ground and unlaces my boots. Scattered around him are four flat rocks.

"David," I sit up and look at him, "what the hell is your problem? Iím freezing. Give me my boots back."

He places a rock on the bottom of my left boot, nods to myself, and then hands the boot back, sans shoelace. I put the boot on and he takes my foot in his lap. He ties the tock onto the bottom of the boot and repeats for the right one. Then he does the same for his own shoes and struggles to a stand, slipping a little on the way.

"Letís go skating!" he exclaims, slipping a little as he tries to skate in a circle.

"David, I just want to go back to the lodging house. The faster, the better."

"Fine," he strikes a pose like a runner and points himself in the direction of the lodging house, "Iíll race you. On your marks," he pauses, "get set," again a pause for dramatic effect, "GO!"

And off he goes, scrambling over the icy surface, tripping over his own feet.

So, once again, I must chase him.

Tip Five: Donít Forget the Mistletoe

We slip and slide our way through the empty city streets, our rock-bottomed shoes scritch-scratching on the icy patches of ground. Iím sweating from the effort, but itís a cold sweat and I shiver in the winter chill. David falls a few times, stumbling from the awkward weight of his Ďskatesí. Usually when he falls I do as well because my eyes are fixed on his back, straining in concentration. Weíre about a block away from the lodging house when I start gaining on him. Then I fall, head-over-heels into the front door.

"I think I win," I groan.

David helps me to my feet and pulls the rocks off of our boots. We climb the stairs; I shiver the whole time.

"Iím taking a bath," I tell him dragging my feet towards the bathroom, kicking my boots off in the general direction of my bunk.

I pump hot water into the wash basin and lower myself in, still wearing my long underwear. David appears in the doorway. He has taken off his jacket and boots. His socks are grey wool and his shirt is sapphire blue.

"Look what I found," he says, holding up the red-and-green gift that woke me up this morning. He walks over and holds it out. "Open it."

I hesitate. "Is it waterproof?" I ask slowly.

He nods.

I reach towards him, grab his wrists, and pull him into the tub. He splashes around in panic for a few seconds before lifting his head and looking me in the face. His eyelashes are covered with little drops of water. He kisses me.

"What was hat for?" I ask when he pulls away.

He holds out the soggy gift and smiles wryly. "Itís mistletoe."


So, you see, the key steps are important to follow. OK, I know I didnít get to sleep and I was cold and I most definitely did not watch my step. However, otherwise it was a most successful Christmas. Less lounging that usual and more memories. All in all a very merry Christmas.