Day 5: Rowanne

It really was the most wonderful time of the year. Rowanne took a sip of her gingerbread hot chocolate and sighed with happiness. Warmth spread through her fingers, keeping her nice and toasty. Looking down at her feet, Rowanne smiled at her ankles, which were covered in fluffy red socks with Santa’s face knitted in. She had just finished decorating the Plug with tinsel and fake snow that came out of a can. Wasn’t that brilliant? Snow in a can! Like joy bottled up. Step into Christmas came on over the radio. This was a perfect day.

Rowanne had always loved Christmas. As a child, it was all she could think about as soon as November 1st came around. All her friends stopped liking the holiday as they grew up, claiming it was too childish or too forced or too fake. False happiness, that’s what one person had called it. Rowanne didn’t see it like that. Christmas was something to look forward to, a spark of light in the dead of night. Winter could be so cold, so bleak, so difficult, especially this year. Icy limbs, sky high bills and worries about what January brings had characterised the season so far. It would be so easy to sink into despair but Christmas kept Rowanne afloat. It was a day where she would see her family, eat good food, get to watch her nieces wide smiles as they opened their presents. Outside of her own little Christmas bubble, people all over the world were more likely to be kind and charitable, all because it was a holiday and sometimes, you just want to be someone else’s miracle. How could you not love a day that made such an awful season seem so lovely?

A girl stepped up to Rowanne’s counter. “Hi, I’m here to pick up my Snow Ball ticket?”

Rowanne’s heart skipped a beat. Here was the perfect chance to spread some holiday cheer. Checking off the girl’s name, Rowanne asks, “Would you like it gift wrapped?”

The girl looks sceptical but agrees. Rowanne could scream for joy. She takes out the relevant items and places them in a red envelope. The girl moves to take it but Rowanne’s not done yet. She takes a sticker from a draw – it’s roughly the size of a £2 coin and has an elf’s face on it. He has a smile as wide as Rowanne’s. Before placing it on the envelope, Rowanne dumps a tube of green glitter inside. Sealing the letter, Rowanne pats it twice.

“Thanks,” the girl says.

“Almost there,” says Rowanne, as she takes out a silver bag. Placing the envelope inside, she pulls at the ribbon at the top to close the bag. She ties the ribbon together with a Kit Kat reindeer caught inside the loops. Rowanne chuckled to herself. It almost looked like the reindeer was pulling the bag.

She put the bag just below the counter. Initially, she’d place it on top, but people would then take it and she wouldn’t get a chance to use the Christmas boxes. Well, not this time. Rowanne wipped out a red and white stripped box and dropped the bag inside it, on top of a pillow of gold tissue paper. Putting the lid on, she tied it closed with a white ribbon and handed it over to the girl.

It was so amazing to spread some holiday cheer. There was nothing quite so brilliant. She felt like Santa himself. Rowanne would love it if everyday were Christmas, every month December. Maybe Christmas was false happiness, but what did Rowanne care? She was happy at Christmas and if it was all because commercialism was telling her to be or because everyone else was pretending, then so be it. It didn’t matter why Rowanne was happy, she just was. Christmas made everything better for her, even if only for the day.

Christmas made you want to believe in miracles, want to believe that world was a little brighter. It was a holiday that took ordinary things like a red sock, put them in front of a fireplace and made them something special. It took ordinary people like Rowanne and made her, for a short while, somebody’s miracle.

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