Oh, I am ever so eager for this-coming Christmas, I am! I have high-hopes that this year shall be a joyful event, making up for the horrific tragedies I endured last Yule. Only now, these memories a year in the recess of time, am I able to share what happened with you.

Come last Christmas eve, I was filled with anticipation at what wonders awaited me the following day. Naturally, I had been the best of boys all year long so I was certain that Father Christmas would reward me accordingly. I was in such a state of giddy hopefulness that I fell into an asthmatic fit and had to sit in the closet next to a tub of scalding water. The steam helps to open my windpipe.

At last I changed into my nightdress and retired to my bedchambers for a restless night's sleep.

Come the dawn, I threw aside my bedding with much vigor and raced down the staircase and into the living room. There, around the tree was what appeared to be a bounty of presents for me! Firstly, I went to my stocking and found within a bright ripe orange and several sugary sweetmeats. I devoured the orange straight away and decided to let the cooking staff lazily sleep in another hour since I already had sustenance. And why not? It was Christmas Day - a time for charity!

I next tore into the bright paper-packaging on all the presents marked "To: Winthrop." I received a red and white pedal cart, a new hoop and stick, a solid brass croquet set, a fine new suit of red crushed velvet with a white lace collar, a toy sailing ship with a mast as long as my arm, a miniaturized farm house complete with several small animals and a wood-carved figurine of an uneducated commoner farm person - his face a delightfully accurate depiction of slack-jawed ignorance, and one other present besides: a new hobby horse.

It is true that I dictated a letter to Nanny to send to Saint Nicholas, asking him to give me a new hobby horse for Christmas. It's also true that I did not specify details of what the toy was to look like, but why should I have? Is not Father Christmas purported to have great powers of observation? Should he not have seen that my favorite horse in all our stables is father's proud steed Chestnut? And is not Chestnut's coat a gorgeous deep brown? It is! The coat on this hobby horse was a dingy gray color that I did not care for in the least!

It was a shoddy, dull little toy made for a shoddy, dull little boy!

I dragged the beastly thing alongside me to the foyer and through the main doors. Outside, I tossed the eyesore of a gift as hard as I could muster into the freshly-fallen Christmas snow. I then walked out into the snow, my anger alone warming my feet in the coldness. When in front of the ugly gray hobby horse, I pulled my nightshirt up under my chin and let loose a stream of urine all over the offending object.

As I did, I shook my fist in the air and yelled, "a pox on you Saint Nicholas, and a pox on Christmas as well!"

The cold winter wind blew across the manor, through the gates and the trees and across my exposed John Thomas. It did not chill me, though, for I was already numb to the pain of Christmas.