It was night everywhere in the household as everyone slept. I lay huddled in my blanket as the fire crackled, tiny sparks flittering out from the fire's glow and into the room's darkness, shining intensely for a moment before wisping away, disappearing into the indoor night. I didn't sleep. I was thinking about all the nice presents everyone had gotten, of the rocking chair for Aunt Sue and the new tires for Grandpa and the plates for Mother and the shaving kit for Father. I thought of how everyone was so eager to open their presents, and how they all looked so happy to get what they had. I thought of how I had gotten the nicest present of all.
The fire hummed lower. I sat up and grabbed more of the wrapping paper with the poker and stoked the fire with it. It sparked up a little before settling back to a crackle. I let out a cold breath as I huddled back inside my blanket. I rubbed my feet against the low-hanging branches on the Christmas tree. Fuzzy. The teddy bear that little Joanna had gotten, she named him Fuzzy and he was her best friend. She set him in the corner and opened her other presents and he watched her the whole night, supporting her like a good friend, remaining wordless as she cried in joy at every new present, every “best ever present” she had ever gotten. The stitched smile on his face grew wider, it seemed, or maybe he was just looking happy like everyone else. The bestest friend ever would always look happy, wouldn't he?
I heard Aunt Sue snoring upstairs. How late was it? Sooner or later Joanna's muffled footsteps would lead her to Mother and Father's room, where she'd wake them up for a glass of water she wouldn't drink. Fuzzy would be in her hands, maybe. Or maybe it would be Fluffy, or Puffy, or Bear. She never made up her mind. No worries. He'd always look happy for her.
Mother was washing the plates Father had gotten her, telling Aunt Sue how wonderful they were and how the plates had a wonderful sheen and how it'd be so nice to eat off the new plates. Plates this, plates that. Plates were really very nice to get as a Christmas present. Gregory from two doors down got a set of hot plates for Christmas last year. He smiled when he got them. Then he burned part of the carpet. I didn't look nice at all. He didn't smile when they found out.
Aunt Sue had to sew a tear in Fluffy while Grandpa and Father put the new tires on the car. They were nice seventeen-inch rims, croned, though who knows why someone would put a crone on a tire. Like, imagine the wicked witch of the west spinning around and around your tires as you drove down the road. Would the west witch get turned around if you drove east? Would she get confused if you turned north?
But I had the best gift of all. Everyone was so amazed when I opened it; none of them smiled. Even Fuzzy seemed to frown. I held it in my hands; it was so nice. I felt like throwing it into the fire. In a second it would be ashes and no one would know. But I didn't.
I wonder why Mother got Father the shaving kit. He never shaved, ever. I don't think he even owns a razor. Hmm, maybe that was why.
The fire finally started to die. I yawned and went to sleep. I was hidden in the dark.