“Look, there’s another present!” Kaysa pointed at the small, lumpy package.
Gloria raised her eyebrow at the unfamiliar wrapping paper. She shot a glance at Mo. Mo shook his head and shrugged.
“Wait a second, baby,” Gloria said.
Too late. Kaysa had already torn the paper. “Sorry, Mama.”
A winged imp unfolded itself from the torn paper. It unfurled its wings, fluttered up into the Christmas tree, and began eating a candy cane.
“What the …” Gloria picked up Kaysa, holding her as far from the tree as possible while still keeping an eye on the imp. Kaysa peeked around her mother. Mo prodded the imp with a rolled up Sports Illustrated. “Shoo!”
The imp pushed the magazine away with a long, bony forefinger. “Please, my dear Sir, let us not start off on the wrong foot,” said the imp.
“Don’t you come in my house and give the orders around here,” said Gloria.
“But my dear Lady, you invited me,” said the imp, “this very morning. Before breakfast? Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Christmas Spirit.”
With that the imp drew itself up to its full height of four inches before executing an elaborate bow, its wings and tail extended for balance. The tree’s branch bounced, dislodging an ornament. Mo dropped the magazine to catch the falling ornament. The imp used his tail to acquire another candy cane.
Gloria remembered saying grace before breakfast. Following the pastor’s advice, she had included “Let us invite the Christmas Spirit to live with us all year long!”
“Keep an eye on it, Honey. I’m calling the pastor. Right. Now.”