Most of us have a story or two of odd gifts we have received for Christmas. Mine is the bundle of green sticks I got when I was six years old. They were tied neatly with twine and set among the gift-wrapped items that had accumulated under our tree. But they were not a surprise. My dad and had I ribbed one another throughout the year about how our behavior would directly influence the presents we would reap from Santa’s benevolence. When December arrived, he joked that while I had not been bad enough to earn stockings filled with coal, I made the cut for the next worst gift—a pile of sticks. “Just wait and see,” he assured me.
But I smelled deceit…
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Illustration Courtesy of Thomas Powell Griffith.