Carla pulled Jeff down the sidewalk until they stood in front of the lavish Christmas display decorating the neighbor’s front lawn.
“C’mon! We need to do a selfie in front of this! It can be our Christmas card!” she exclaimed.
“Oh, no. Please? It’s too late to do Christmas cards with a photo.” Jeff hated that he came close to whining, he felt like he was worse than Scrooge, but he really didn’t like all the stress that always accompanied the holiday season. Carla loved it, reveled in it, if he was honest. And, staying on the honesty track, she didn’t seem stressed at all. How did they even wind up together? Much less married for almost five years now?
“Just one. Please, sweetie?” Carla beamed at him. “I promise. Just one. You can stand here with this cute elf and me.” She gestured toward one of the metal elves helping to load packages into Santa’s sleigh. Jeff sighed. He knew it would make her happy, and that was his life’s goal now… to make sure Carla was happy. Jeff trudged over to the spot Carla indicated, just beside the elf.
The elf winked.
Jeff froze, staring at the metal elf, but nothing more happened. Carla bounced over to him and patted the elf on the head as she passed.
The elf smiled.
Jeff gulped. “Um, Carla? Sweetie?” he said.
“Oh, you’re fine. That’s perfect,” Carla bubbled. She pulled out her phone, leaned in just so, and snapped the picture.
“Yay! We got a great picture!” She leaned into him and planted a quick kiss on his lips. Jeff smiled and returned the kiss. Carla always had a way of getting him out of a bad mood or getting him to see the fun in mundane activities. Like taking a selfie in front of a Christmas display in the neighbor’s yard.
“Oh! Oh, wow! How did you do that?” Carla exclaimed, staring at her phone.
“Do what, babe?” Jeff leaned over to see what she was staring at.
“Make it look like the elf photo bombed our selfie?” Carla said, suddenly quiet.
The photo on her phone showed a grinning, glowing Carla, leaning on a (finally) smiling Jeff, and the elf, on the other side of Jeff, jumping up with one hand on Jeff’s shoulder and waving with the other hand.
“I… uh… well, you were so excited about the selfie, I, um, uh, just decided to make it more fun,” Jeff faltered.
Carla stared over at the elf in question. It was back in its original pose, pushing a package up onto a fully loaded sleigh. She looked back at Jeff.
“Um, okay. I guess.” Her voice was hesitant, uncertain. Jeff put an arm around her.
“Well, I think we got a great picture. The elf just adds that funny touch,” he reassured her. “I bet you get a lot of compliments on your Christmas cards this year.”
“Our Christmas cards. I’m not doing this just for me. This is going to be our Christmas card,” she retorted, turning back to him.
Jeff nodded, grateful he’d managed to sidetrack her. If he was going crazy and seeing a metal elf wink, there was no reason to take her down with him. He wrapped her up in his arms and buried his face in her hair. “You’re right. It’s our card. I’m sorry for being a grouch.”
Her sunny nature reasserted itself. “Wouldn’t it have been cool if the elf really had come to life? Just for our picture? A real Christmas elf!” she gushed, her grin lighting up her face.
Jeff glanced at the elf out of the corner of his eye. Yep, it winked at him again. This time, Jeff returned the wink. The elf had helped Carla create the perfect Christmas card, and made Jeff realize what a treasure he had in Carla. He was suddenly grateful to a yard decoration.
“Sweetie? What are you thinking?” Carla nudged him.
“Oh, just how this display is pretty cool, and how much I love you,” Jeff replied with a mock-solemn gaze.
“Oh!” Carla’s cheeks turned pink and she smiled up at him. “I love you, too,” she said.
Movement out of the corner of his eye caught Jeff’s attention. The elf was pretending to doff his cap. Jeff laughed, and turned back to Carla, planting a kiss on her forehead.
“Let’s go home and make some hot chocolate and popcorn, and watch a silly Christmas movie,” he suggested.
“Oh! Yes! You know that’s my favorite thing to do! I thought I was going to have to tie you down to the sofa to watch with me,” Carla exclaimed.
“I know and I’m sorry for how I was last year. I promise I’ll do all the silly, Christmasy things you want to do this year,” Jeff told her.
“Yay! Let’s go!” Carla started back toward their house, pulling Jeff along.
Grinning, he strode after her. There was something to be said for snuggling on the sofa with hot chocolate and popcorn, even if the movie they wound up watching would likely be far too sweet for his tastes. It was only this time of year and besides, it made her happy.
Prompts really do help get my brain back into a creative mode, especially when I’ve been overwhelmed with moving boxes and settling in. ‘Nother Mike challenged me with the elf photo bombed our selfie and this little story just popped into my head, I hope you enjoy. My prompt went to Fiona Grey. For more prompt responses and spares if you want to try your hand at writing a response, head on over to More Odds Than Ends and see what your brain conjures up!