Fluffy's Christmas Gift
Charles W. Page MD
The fresh smell of cinnamon filled the air as red powder settled on the cotton balls. The ornament trembled while a tickling chill passed through its fluffy white fibers onto its cardboard body. The feeling moved up its wooden spine rattling the snowman’s bottle-top hat. The snowman’s eyes jiggled and then gazed into the face of a freckled, red-haired boy.
The lad sniffed the cotton and whispered, “Umm! You smell like cinnamon. And Oooh! You’re soft. I’m Zach and I’ll call you Fluffy.”
The youngster grabbed Fluffy’s popsicle spine, whisked him into the air, and twirled him around making the Snowman dizzy.
Zach’s blue eyes sparkled. “Mom, he smells wonderful— like your Christmas cookies.”
Kathy placed a cookie in her son’s mouth, watching Fluffy swing. “How creative, Zach. Your snowman has everything. Shiny glitter and a hat that rattles. Let’s put him on the tree.”
Zach smacked his cookie and whispered to his new friend. “Fluffy, you’re special. You’re one of a kind.”
Light from the tree shimmered on Fluffy’s glitter. He shook his cotton releasing cinnamon into the air. The odor, mixing with the scent of cedar, gave the room a sweet, crisp smell. The snowman enjoyed the sights and sounds of Christmas: carols sung by the piano, gifts shared around the tree, hugs and joyful laughs, the rich aroma of cocoa, the star resting on the highest point of the tree.
Fluffy gazed upward and dreamed of hanging by the star. The view must be wonderful up there. And the starlight would make my glitter shine. Someday, and somehow, I’ll rise to the top.
Fluffy watched the other tree ornaments: the boy with drums, the golden-haired angels with silver wings, the soldiers standing at attention, the chubby man in a red suit. Fluffy tried to be their friend, but they looked away.
After Christmas, the ornaments were packed in boxes. With care, Zach placed Fluffy on top of the others. “Sweet dreams. I’ll see you next Christmas.”
As darkness filled the box, the decorations shared their Christmas stories and gossiped about Fluffy. “Ha! Look at Cinnamon Sticks. He’s shaking. I think he’s scared of the dark.” “Ouch! Why is Cotton Balls on the very top? He’s too heavy.”
When he heard their hurtful words, the snowman stiffened his spine. “Someday, I’ll get to the top of the tree.”
He ignored the grumbling, drifted off to sleep, and dreamed of hanging by the star.
One day, the lids opened and light bounced off the shiny ornaments. Zach lifted the snowman out of the box and hung him on the tree. “I told you I would come back!”
Fluffy shook his cotton, let his glitter shine, and looked up at the star. Time passed and the odd cycle continued. A few weeks of tree time were followed by months in the box. Each year, as Zach grew taller, Fluffy moved up the tree.
And every season, the grumbling gossip worsened: “Cotton Balls thinks he’s better than the rest of us.” “Just wait , Cinnamon Sticks. One day, you’ll get what’s coming to you