It was two days before Christmas and little did Reggie [this makes him sound like he’s 5] know that this would probably be his most memorable Christmas ever. [“little did he know” never works in a story; too cliché] Just two hours earlier, sitting in his favorite chair in the family room, he had candidly stated that Santa was indeed real and that he fully anticipated hearing from him on Christmas day. Our family had been talking about the upcoming day and the kids were relating what kind of gifts Santa would bring them. Rena, being all of 12 and thinking she was much older than that, had made a snide remark about the true existence of Santa. Reggie, being just a year younger, had suddenly piped up and declared that Santa was indeed real and she shouldn’t be talking like that. He further added that we needed to arrange the coffee table and chairs in such a way that Santa would have a difficult time getting through to get to the cookies and milk we would be leaving him. Anything disturbed would be conclusive proof that he indeed existed. Marty our youngest, always known for his skeptical nature, seemed to side with his brother, probably won over by his enthusiasm. [don’t tell us about this conversation. Let us hear it. Give us the dialog.] My wife and I exchanged a quick glance only to catch Rena’s intersecting our gaze. It’s as if in a telekinetic way we all wanted to say, “Reggie still believes!” I was personally pleased because throughout their whole childhood we had always tried to let them imagine that the world would always be full of wonders and magic. Yet Reggie wasn’t done yet. It was his turn to state what he wanted for Christmas. He totally surprised us when he said he had always wanted a signet ring, the kind that has an initial on the face. [this is hard to believe] At that moment I resolved to make this Christmas a very special one for Reggie. I was determined to keep this magic going as long as I could.
The next day, the 24th of December, I rushed out to our local jeweler, Fort Richmond Jewelers. I explained to the owner what had happened and what I needed. He stood there for a few moments, his mind quickly doing an inventory of his jewellery stock and he then ambled off into the backroom. He returned clutching a little brown velvet box in his hand. He slowly opened it to reveal a sparkling silver ring with a blank face. He explained he had the engraving tools to make an initial but he needed to state that this was an extremely busy day being the day before Christmas. However he would try to get it done before the end of the day. I thanked him gratefully and left. [Again, give us the dialog.] I was now on to phase II of a plan I had hatched the night before. I stopped at my neighbor’s place to see if I could borrow his huge winter boots. Lindsay was a police sergeant, an imposing figure of a man with a shoe size to match. After hearing my story, he quickly obliged. I then fetched the ladder and pulled out an 8-foot 2×4 board from under the deck. I placed everything on the hidden side of the garage out of view. I went in the house and whispered my plan to Bonnie, my wife, as I ate lunch. No sooner had I finished lunch that the phone rang. The signet ring was ready! I hurried to the store and there waiting on the counter was the silver ring sitting beside a small beautifully decorated box. I paid him and thanked him for all his help. As I stepped outside I noticed the sun’s rays were already slipping down into the horizon, reminding me of the short days that the winter months bring us. Once again home with the little box tucked away in a fold deep in my winter jacket, I winked at my wife acknowledging that everything was advancing as planned. That night, as soon as the kids were tucked in, I slipped out of the house. I gently placed the ladder on the eaves troughs and started climbing it with the 2×4 in my other hand. [Is he nuts? Climbing onto the roof in the snow and the dark?] Once on the roof, I methodically tiptoed on the bare spots on the roof to reach a wide 20cm high snowdrift. I reached out as far as I could and slid the 2×4 board in a straight line leading up to the ridge cap. I mentally measured what distance would be between Santa’s sled’s skis and made another impression in the snowdrift. I then looked around for a place to hide the small box. I located a perfect spot near the chimney pipe and tucked it in a way that it remained visible only when you were standing on the actual roof. Pleased with my work and feeling content about the whole day, I climbed down and went to bed.
We woke up the next morning to the shuffling of feet and the sounds of gifts being weighed and shaken. The Christmas rules were that everyone had to be present to open the gifts so the kids were quite excited to see us coming down the stairs. Once the gifts were open, a traditional Christmas breakfast followed. [what?] After breakfast, Reggie and Marty decided to phone their neighborhood buddies for a street hockey game. During the winter months on our street, this was a daily occurrence. In no time at all, a team of Thompson’s, Hancock’s, Kocay’s, D’Heilly’s and Bilodeau’s was assembled and playing a spirited game of street hockey. All of a sudden Stu, one of the boys’ friends, happened to look up and noticed some strange markings on our roof. The whole game came to a sudden halt. It was quite a scene to see all of them gazing up at the roof with a puzzled look on their faces. One of them mentioned that it sure looked like the tracks of Santa’s sleigh. Reggie immediately wanted to check it out. I mentioned that it was risky to go on a roof in the winter but also agreed it needed to be checked out. I told him I’d hold the ladder while he climbed up. Reggie was quite accustomed to this activity as the boys helped me out during the summer months replacing roofs. Once on the roof, I yelled out to him asking him what he was seeing. He yelled back that it definitely looked like Santa’s sleigh. He also wondered if I had done them but then shouted out that the boot prints in the snow were absolutely huge. [give us the dialog] I then heard a loud gasp. I asked him what was going on. He had spotted the gift box. I told him to go get it, which he did. In no time at all, he was down the ladder in the center of a group of amazed friends. They urged him to open it. Reggie unwrapped the box and gently unfolded the colored paper inside to reveal the silver signet ring. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He showed it to everyone, looked at me with wonder in his eyes and then bolted inside the house to show his mom and sister. The next hour was filled with much excitement. After this special day, Reggie’s firm belief in Santa Clause wasn’t about to be swayed for quite some time.
Technically, watch out for sentence structure, grammar, flow. You need to create multiple paragraph breaks. The title “Xmas” is going to be offensive to some readers. I’d like more sensory detail, some dialog, and a little more depth to the characters. I don’t really believe that an 11 year old would want a signet ring; nor that the father would buy it on what is essentially a whim; nor that he would hide a little box up on the roof and let his boy climb up there in the snow to look for it. A toy of some type dropped behind the Christmas tree is more believable.
What I liked best: The idea of the dad wanting to extend his child’s belief in Santa and going to great lengths to do so.
Magazine ready? No. With some depth and rewriting, this would make a good short story.