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Santa’s Eve: A Christmas Novella

Santa’s Eve: A Christmas Novella

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Santa’s Eve: A Christmas Novella

166 pages
2 hours
Dec 5, 2019


Eve is on a Christmas mission.

And grouchy Santa can’t stop her.

Or can he?

As decorator at South Florida’s most exclusive open-air shopping center, Eve is out to orchestrate a joyful Christmas Eve winter wonderland. It’ll be just like that 24th all those years ago before her father went and got himself, you know, arrested.

What’s past is past though. After all, she’s got the mistletoe. She’s got the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And she’s hired the jolliest Santa in the world. It will be perfect, that is, if she can get Gabe, the grinch of an engineer, to cooperate. Sure, he’s tall, and that baritone voice of his could melt the North Pole. But can’t he stop hating Christmas long enough to make Eve’s winter wish come true?

As far as Gabe is concerned, the world could do without Christmas. It digs up memories from holidays best forgotten. So naturally, he lets himself get roped into playing Santa at some snooty shopping center. (Shhh, no one can know. It would ruin his reputation.) To top it off, that crazy redhead Eve wants him to break the laws of physics and create some winter wonderland. What part of “South Florida heat wave” does she not understand?

As the Advent calendar ticks down to December 24, Eve fears she may have more in common with Gabe than she’d like to admit. And in spite of himself, Gabe is losing his grip on his inner bah humbug. Could he possibly end up falling for the girl—and Christmas?

Dec 5, 2019

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Santa’s Eve - Mikaela Snowe




Know what I love about Christmas?

Everything, obviously.

But what I love the most is that even grinches can fall in love with Christmas.



The eight-foot Advent calendar towers over me. I stand on the step ladder and stretch towards the door marked December 22 nd. I let my fingers feel the date’s glittery surface before tugging on the miniature candy cane door handle. A thrill of delight and anticipation zips through my fingers.

My hand touches something cold. Effie must have just placed today’s treat inside.

I pull out a miniature snow globe. Inside is a tiny little snowman, its crystalline, roly-poly body glittering in the blinking lights that frame the Advent calendar. In a few minutes, the snow figurine will melt into a Florida snowman, its body parts floating in water. But for now, for this little instant, he is the perfect wintry Christmas moment.

Christmas cheer is here indeed.

I take a step back from the Advent calendar, which I’ve hitched to the fragrant pinewood door that leads to my Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village.

Okay, the Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village is technically a round greenhouse. One reason I accepted the position of chief window dresser at The Shops at True North was because it has a greenhouse. Talk about nifty. We call it The Oxygen Exchange.

This year, I convinced my bosses to convert it to a magical snow globe for our Christmas Eve event because it looks exactly like a giant snow globe! Once the shopping center’s cooling system is properly rigged, we’ll blast wintry freshness and transform the greenhouse into a full-blown Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village in time for December 24 th. Complete with snow, thanks to the snow machine that arrived this morning.

People told me my wintry village couldn’t be done. Eve, they said, we’re in South Florida. In a heat wave. Winter wonderland? You have got to be joking.

But I plowed ahead. And now, excitement has spread. Even the local news is interested. Any minute now, I’ll be speaking to a news crew to promote the event on Christmas Eve.

I wrap my hands around the chilly snowman’s snow globe, knowing that my enjoyment of the cold will only bring his demise on faster. But I plan on wrenching every bit of Christmas happiness from the maws of the season.

This is going to be the most perfect Christmas Eve ever.

It has to be.

I put on my green woolen hat. (It goes perfect with my red hair!) It’s a bit mosty-toasty because I’m standing in the open-air central walkway of the Shops at True North, but I need to look perfect for my winter-themed news interview.

My phone buzzes. It’s a message from Todd, the head of maintenance here. I consulted Gabe about the air conditioning system. He’s not convinced your cooling plan could work.

Don’t contact that man, I type back as I blow a strand of hair from my sweaty forehead. Todd, you are great at engineery stuff. I believe in you. Don’t use Gabe as a crutch.


Sure, Gabe’s a top engineer. We call him in from time to time on contract, but he hates Christmas.

You can’t trust a man who hates Christmas.

You know, even if he is tall and has a rumbly voice and smells like—

Enough about Gabe. I stare at my melting snowman. Todd’s message has left me unsettled. I look to the wooden Santa and Rudolph, which we’ll install inside later, for comfort.

Can you imagine being like that Gabe? I ask the figures. Ugh.

Their fixed smiles are all the response I need.

My Christmas cheer is here to stay.

Eve! A hurried voice calls out to me from down the central walkway. Eve, Eve, Eve!

That’s Effie, the one I mentioned earlier. She also works at The Shops at True North and is my best friend. The news crew must be here because, despite her broken leg and crutches, she’s practically racing towards me.

Is the reporter here? I call out. I’m ready to dazzle.

You’re going to want to take a deep, cleansing breath, she says as she reaches me, gasping for air.

No, I’m fine. I love the media. I eat the media for elevensies.

Focus on the positive.

This is starting to sound ominous.

Don’t make a big deal, she says. It will all work out.

What? What will work out?

It’s Santa.

He’s not here? He’s supposed to be here for the news crew.

I wish he weren’t.

What? What? What happened with Santa?


I hear the roar before I see its source. I follow the sound, dodging the palm fronds and ferns and miniature ponds. A knot of people is clumped near a Christmas tree. What I see stops me in my tracks.

Oh, no, no, no, no, no. This can’t be happening.

The news crew has indeed arrived, and the camera is pointed right at Santa, who is . . .

Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

You want the whole toy store, don’t you? Santa hollers at a child who can’t be more than four years old. She’s clutching a Santa doll, tears staining her face. Santa keeps bellowing, Doesn’t matter how much it costs. Doesn’t matter if you don’t need it. You might as well be my ex-wife.

Santa, I squeak as I rush over. Why don’t we smile for the cameras? I smile for the cameras. The stunned look on the reporter’s face tells me my act isn’t good enough.

Please don’t let this be live. Please, please, please.

Santa pokes me in the chest. Good thing my cuddly jacket provides padding.

Listen, little Miss Snow Cakes. I’ll smile, all the way to the poorhouse.

I have to set this right. I pull him aside. Santa, what’s the matter?

What’s the matter? He glowers at the camera. What’s the matter? I’ll tell you what’s the matter. You kids all want expensive toys, and you’re talking to a guy being farmed out by a temp agency to dress in ridiculous clothes and earn minimum wage doing it. That’s what’s the matter.

And right there, in front of the rolling camera, he starts to strip. It. He pulls off his coat. Is. He pulls off his pants. Freaking. He pulls off his hat. Hot in here.

The little girl takes a step back. Santa?

Santa, now in briefs and an undershirt, leans into the little girl’s face and hollers, Santa. Doesn’t. Exist.

She bursts into tears as the reporter signals to the cameraman. In a hushed voice usually reserved for pileups involving multiple deaths, she says, This is Elsie Kowl. We are live from The Shops at True North.

No, no, no, no, I squeak as I rush over to the reporter. This can’t be happening. It’s the happiest time of the year. Time for joy and happiness and bliss and snowflakes on eyelashes and chestnuts roasting on open fires.

You have witnessed Santa’s meltdown, Elsie Kowl says, brought on by low wages and heatstroke.

No, no, no, no. I’m surprised at how hard-hitting Elsie Kowl is. She always seemed so chipper before. The crew isn’t letting me through, even though I’m the one Elsie Kowl is supposed to be interviewing.

The reporter’s face goes all serious, like reporters’ faces do when they’re discussing death tolls in the thousands. Which leads us to ask the all-important question: is the Christmas spirit dead in South Florida?

No! I scream and push my way through the crew. I grab the microphone. My reflection in the camera lens shows me I’ve lost my hat. My hair is poking up funny, but now is not the time to worry about hair. No, it is not dead.

And you are? Elsie Kowl says.

I am Eve Pickens. I shake her hand. We talked earlier on the phone. I turn back to the camera. I am lead window dresser at The Shops at True North, and I am in charge of the Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village Celebration. I assure you the Christmas spirit is not dead. Not by a long shot.

From behind me, Santa growls, Take your hands off me.

It would appear not all True North employees would agree. Are they unionized?

Well, Santa is a temp, so a union—It doesn’t matter! Santa is having a bad day, nothing more. We all have bad days. I raise my voice. Christmas is about joy and happiness and bliss and that perfect feeling of contentment you have on Christmas Eve when everyone walks out of the church holding their candles alight while singing ‘Silent Night,’ and snowflakes stick to your eyelashes and donkeys bray and you imagine what it’ll be like the next morning when you sneak down the stairs, the first blush of dawn still at bay. You imagine the Christmas tree, lit up with tiny fairy lights reflecting off the red and green and blue wrapping below.

Back to your employee’s meltdown—

Santa is having a moment, that’s all. I realize my tone of voice sounds an awful lot like Santa’s now. I paste a happy smile on my face. I love Christmas. I love Christmas. I love Christmas. You say the Christmas spirit is dead? I will prove you wrong.

How do you intend to do that?

Join us at The Shops at True North’s Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village Celebration on the 24 th. You will see for yourself. I grab the microphone, our modern way of throwing down the gauntlet. I pause as a sincere smile takes over my face. I think of chestnuts and Silent Night and flickering candles and gifts and wrapping paper. When I speak, I channel my high school prom queen voice. It will be the happiest Christmas ever.

Those are fighting words. A hush follows. I’ve obviously won over these naysayers.

Elsie Kowl yanks the microphone from my hand. True North’s Snow Globe Magical Christmas Winter Village Celebration. Try to say that five times fast. What will be your metric?

Excuse me?

How will you confirm it’s the happiest Christmas ever?

I feel my smile droop. From behind me, Santa growls, Screw public decency laws.

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