The Ugly Christmas Sweater, T-shirt version


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

Scott's parents adore one another, and he loves watching them banter. But this year, it's not just the chestnuts getting roasted.


In his old room, Scott stripped out of his police uniform and put on sweatpants and slippers. On his bed was the loose T-shirt with a blond-haired elf on the front that his mother had given him the year before. The elf was shirtless, wearing red boxer shorts with holly on them, and he was licking a candy cane while dangling a round ornament on one finger of his other hand.

Upon seeing the shirt when Scott unwrapped it, a cousin had started singing, "Don we now our gay apparel..." and had broken into riotous laughter. That didn't stop the family from insisting he wear it. He was sure he'd asked Mary to give it to Goodwill, so how it had shown up again this year he couldn't explain. Yet, there it was. It could only have come from one person.

"The things we do for our mothers." Scott slipped it on over his head and headed for the kitchen.

He leaned against the door jamb, enjoying the sight. His mother was chopping things for the stuffing and adding them to her biggest bowl. His dad sat at the end of the counter, reading a Popular Science magazine. Neither seemed to pay attention to the other, but while his mother was cooking, Dad always kept her company. She'd crochet in a wooden rocker in the garage while he worked on the boat he was building. As if they couldn't bear to be parted from one another, even though they didn't talk much. Maybe they didn't need words.

Scott had thought he and his wife would be the same, but he and Mary had shared a different lifestyle. Both were often busy, and sometimes saw each other only in passing. He'd worked nights, and she'd worked days. She'd had a downtown office, working as an architect for government housing. Time spent outdoors had given her a great tan, but exposed her to hazardous toxins no one had known were in the old buildings being demolished. When she fainted at work, the company sent her in for a check up. After the diagnosis, the project had been shut down immediately, but cancer took a quick toll. Mary was gone in six months. A government investigation into the cause was still ongoing.

Scott now had sole custody of a four-year old daughter and a job that took him into danger every day. He'd shifted to the downtown beat and day shift because it seemed safer, and he could still do what he loved doing: Helping people.

"Well," his dad said, not looking up from his magazine, "Are you going to help your mother or stand there in that dumb elf shirt?"

His mother braced both hands on the counter. "That shirt cost more money than any three pairs of your pants."

"Did not. I paid a pretty penny for these pants."

"Pants were cheaper back in 1982."

His dad snorted, and went back to his reading.

A Romance for Christmas

On Amazon, when you purchase the paperback for a friend, you can get a Kindle version for yourself at no cost. Once you buy the paperback, go to the Kindle version of the book and refresh the page. It will tell you the book is available at no cost. Merry Christmas!



Image credits: In my honest opinion, this elf is the cutest thing ever!
Created by author/artist Janet E Jones


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