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    KISSMESS! by Jackie Fender

    “KISSMESS!” This “word” is exclaimed several times a day, sometimes half a dozen times in a moment these days by my two year old. She’s a precocious one. Wise beyond what her vibrant baby blues, stubby digits and Shirley Temple curls would lead you to believe. And she has discovered the Christmas spirit. I can’t put my finger on the precise moment this happened, I think perhaps it’s just in her nature. She sings Happy Birthday jubilantly. Greets each of us at the door with pure unadulterated joy. She squeals with delight, as girls are expected to and last year, though tiny, she was enthralled with the dazzling displays at…

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    The Santa Photo by Joshua Swainston

    Two years ago my son, River, was six. Like most children in America, he obsessed about Christmas and it’s bringer of goodies, Santa Claus. He learned about Saint Nick from cartoons, movies, commercials, and other children: an amalgamation of hearsay and commercialism. What my son knew of the Santa was limited. He knew about Santa’s wife, Mrs. Claus, and all of the elves building toys in the North Pole. He knew that Santa brought presents to good boys and girls. River also knew that he was petrified of the jolly old man. That a child may be scared of Santa is not unreasonable. As parents we tell our children to…

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    Dad, Listen by William Turbyfill

    Dad, listen, we need to talk. Look, this isn’t going to be easy for either of us, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen. I’m not going to beat around the bush; you’re not a child so I’m not going to treat you like a child. I’m going to come right out and just say it. Last night, underneath the mistletoe, I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus. I know, I know, I should have been in bed fast asleep, but let’s not lose sight of priorities. It’s true that I was up past bedtime but in doing so, I may have uncovered a scandal far more insidious than mere…

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    An Elfish Endeavor by Alissa Nance

    Kristy’s ears rang with laughter as she returned from her latest interview. A never-ending tune of “You want to be a female Santa?” played in her head. Dragging a red cap from her bag, she threw it onto the coffee table. The hat’s fluffy edges fell across an array of candy cane wrappers, pine scented candles, and frosted sugar cookies. She absentmindedly reached for a cookie. As she bit into a misshapen Christmas tree, green sprinkles dotted her peacoat. With a loud groan, she threw herself onto her couch. Crushed beneath her lay an open newspaper, with “Santa for Hire” printed across the top. The ad was circled in red.…