“You got to help me.”
It was my buddy Stan calling.
He had been calling a lot lately and the timing of his calls spoke to the degree of disaster.
A call in the late hours of the evening usually involved a squabble between him and his wife Daphne.
A call in the wee hours of the morning suggested a full-blown fight – but a call after sunrise was the most serious because it meant he had been stewing on it all night.
His voice bespoke panic, “Daphne is planning Christmas dinner at our house.”
That was unusual. Daphne is a tough but kindhearted soul who prefers to spend her holidays serving food at a homeless shelter.
“It’s bad, really bad.”
“She gave me two lists of things to pick up.”
“Yeah, one is labeled Decorations and I couldn’t even tell you what half the stuff on the list is. What’s a freak’n garland?”
“Never mind that. The other says Christmas Dinner and you can’t believe the stuff she wrote down. Garlic butter? Oyster crackers? It’s like a scavenger hunt.”
“No Stan, it’s Christmas.”
“It’s a nightmare. She says growing up like I did, I never experienced a real Christmas, so she wants to create a Hallmark Christmas. One that will build memories. So far, all I remember is us fighting about it.”
“Like I said, it’s Christmas.”
He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper to emphasize the horror, “She even wants me and Darcy (her sister) to wear funny Christmas sweaters!”
“Oh, the humanity!”
“Help me find a way out of this,” he whined.
I thought about it.
“The best Christmas I ever had,” I told him, “was when my family decided that instead of buying presents for each other, we would adopt a family at a Women’s shelter and outfit them with everything they needed. Some of those families leave home with nothing.”
“Uh-huh, and all I had to do was run into Target to buy sweatshirts and sweatpants for a mother and three kids. It took less than five minutes – because I had the sizes and everything. It was like gift-giving heaven.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because it is the way out of your fix.”
“Holy Moly! It’s perfect. Instead of spending all that cash and time creating a Hallmark Christmas, I could just kick in some money to the shelter where Daphne volunteers, right?”
“It might not be that easy but talk to Daphne and see if she will go for it.”
A few hours later, Darcy called. I could tell from the clink of glasses and the side conversations that she was in a bar. She voiced the same complaint about the Hallmark Christmas.
I told her what I told Stan.
Then Daphne called.
“Let me tell you about this dream I had…” she began.
I didn’t say a thing.
“It was about having Christmas with my family….”
I knew when to keep quiet. The silence on her end of the line lasted a long time and ended with a sigh.
“Worked like a charm, didn’t it?” I asked.
“The shelter had been struggling for funds,” she said.
“Not anymore,” I guessed. “I’ll bet you shaved both Stan and Darcy pretty close to the skin.”
“We could always use more, what should I put you down for?”
“Hey, I did my part.”
“Not even close,” she said.
33 thoughts on “Stan’s Hallmark Christmas”
The moral of this one is the old saying: No good deed goes unpunished. 🙂
Behind every great Stan is a good Daphne . Merry Christmas.
Daphne sounds like a woman who knows exactly how to get what she wants! And underneath the humor, there’s a very good moral to this story….
So how close did she shave you. Wonderful story. Merry Christmas!
Pretty close… 🙂
I always like to change a couple of $20’s into $1’s to stuff into the kettles during the season and Christmas Eve, I will dump whatever is left in my wallet into the kettle. It’s a fun tradition.
Daphne managed to get her quota for the season. Shrewd cookie.
Very nice story!
I like to thing that both Stan and Darcy enjoyed getting played. 🙂
Very nice. A little Christmas conspiracy for good.
What is Christmas without a conspiracy or two? 🙂
Nice story and Merry Christmas to everyone
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you too.
That Daphne is pretty darn slick! 🙂
Married to Stan, she has to be. 🙂
A paratrooper Santa! I love it!
This is great. What a wonderful story, Greg – funny AND heartwarming. And you’re right about shopping for those in need – easy and it feels just wonderful. Merry Christmas.
The best thing about shopping for those in need is that the gifts are truly appreciated.
Perfect Christmas story. Thanks.
I got my inspiration from The Hallmark Channel.
What would you do without Stan to keep you writing?
Nothing drives the writing like a good character. Well, Stan is not a “good” character, he would be insulted by that. He is more of a fun character.
Lol! Daphne is one savvy lady! She plays Stan like an old violin.
Keep in mind that she played her sister too. 🙂
Brilliant and written by a kind and generous soul. Merry Christmas, Greg! And the same to Stan and Daphne.
To truly know Christmas, you have to be a bit of a Scrooge.
His dark side, his cantankerous nature, his bite-into-a-lemon countenance, are all the perfect counter-balance to a Christmas season that begins three weeks before Thanksgiving.
“Bah! Humbug!”, and please pass the cranberry sauce.
Daphne is a pro.
She has to be.
But it doesn’t have to be a choice. If you’ve got a chance at a Hallmark Christmas AND can help someone else, go for it. There’s always a chance to help people in a tough spot, but Hallmark isn’t necessarily forever.
The year that we outfitted the family at the shelter, we invited them over for dinner. It went really well.
Looks like you saved Christmas for Stan and the needy. Win-win!
The real win would be seeing Stan and Darcy wearing funny Christmas sweaters.
Good point! The Christmas trifecta!
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