Mario lolled his head back in the easy chair and let out a huge sigh. Was it the twenty-sixth already? Christmas seemed to go by like a blur. After the play on Christmas Eve, he had immediately gone home and went to bed. The next day... Where to start? Luigi woke him up at around five (a new record) to open even more presents. Following that was a full day of caroling, feasting, and even more gift-giving. By the evening, he was even more exhausted than he was after the play! Now, it was the day after Christmas, and things were finally starting to get back to normal.
"Oh, boy... What is it, Luigi?" Mario called out.
"I could use a little help getting these lights on the house dow--- WOAH!!!"
Suddenly, there was a huge crash outside. Looking out the window, Mario could see a pair of wiggling legs sticking out the top of a snowbank!
"YIKES! LUIGI!" Mario shouted, leaping out of his easy chair and running out the door.
Outside, Mario quickly found Luigi again and freed him from his little 'predicament.'
"Ow... Thanks, Mario..." Luigi moaned, "The roof was a little more slippery than I first expected..."
"What are you doing taking down the lights already, anyway?" Mario asked.
"Well, Christmas is over, right? I gotta start taking these decorations down!"
"You don't have to take stuff down the day after Christmas! I usually leave it all up until after New Year's, at least!"
"That's easy for you to say. I live in a mansion, remember! Even when I start now, by the time I get everything down, it is after New Year's!"
At this remark, all Mario could do was simply start laughing.
"Hey! What's so funny? Stop it!"
Luigi picked up a handful of snow and threw it at his brother. This got his attention.
"What the... You can't throw a snowball at me!" Mario protested, "I'm your brother!"
"It's the twenty-sixth," Luigi teased, scooping up another payload of snow, "Santa isn't watching anymore!"
Mario quickly retaliated by grabbing some snow himself and tossing it at Luigi. Pretty soon, it was a full blown snowball fight between the two brothers. After a while of this, they became tired and fell, side-by-side, into the side of a snowdrift.
"Phew... That was fun..." Luigi panted.
This was followed by a moment of silence before Mario turned to his brother.
"So, what do think the others are doing now?" Mario began.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, everyone has their own little 'Post-Christmas' tradition. Yours obviously is to get started right away on taking down everything. What do you think Peach or Daisy or Wario do?"
Mario continued to wonder about this as a slow, gentle snowfall began to come down.
"So, Peach, thanks again for letting me spend Christmas at your place," Daisy said as she dug through the 'royal refrigerator' for some milk.
Peach looked up from her plate of pancakes.
"Well, it's the least I could do. I mean, Sarasaland is a pretty faraway place."
Daisy finally found the milk she was looking for and grabbed it out of the fridge. Grabbing a bowl of dry cereal nearby, she took both to the table Peach was seated at and began to eat with her.
"You have any plans for today?" Daisy asked between spoonfuls of cereal.
"I was thinking about maybe later today checking up the orphanage and seeing how they're doing," Peach replied, "but otherwise, I'm pretty much open for the day. Why?"
"Well..." Daisy began, holding up the salon gift card Peach had given her, "I was thinking that, while I'm here, I might as well not let this present of yours go to waste..."
Peach's eyes brightened almost immediately. She stood up, grabbed Daisy by the arm, and began to pull her out the door.
"I knew you'd come around, Daisy! I saw the cutest haircut the other day that would look great on you! Trust me, you'll look fabulous!"
"Merry Christmas, Peach," Daisy thought to herself as she was dragged out the door, "consider this another Christmas gift from me."
"Wha ha ha!!! Take that, sucker! Yeah, and stay down, or I'll bite your ear off!"
"Um... Wario?" Waluigi asked, "What are you doing?"
Wario turned from his fighting stance in front of the TV. In his hand was a nunchuk-like contraption.
"You're yelling at the TV..."
"No I'm not! I'm playing with my Wii!"
"Wario? Did you just say what I think you said?"
"Get yer mind outta the gutter, you idiot! It's that new video game system I borrowed from 9-Volt!"
"And by 'borrowed' you mean 'stole'..."
"Just because I didn't ask first doesn't mean I stole it!"
"Right... So, what are you playing, exactly?"
"Wii Sports. The boxing game, to be specific."
"Any reason why?"
"Simple! Today's Boxing Day!"
Waluigi immediately formed a huge sweatdrop on his head and performed an 'anime fall' a moment later. As he was getting back up, the phone rang.
"You wanna get that?" Wario asked, "I'm busy beating up this Bill Gates Mii I created."
Waluigi left the room to answer the phone. A few minutes later, he returned, holding the phone.
"You're not gonna believe this..." Waluigi began, "... Bowser wants us to come over for a barbecue. It's BYOC."
"BYOC?" Wario repeated.
"Bring Your Own Coal!"
By now the Mario Bros. were back inside the house, taking down the indoor decorations. As Mario put away the last scented candle, he let out a sad sigh.
"What's the matter, Mario?" Luigi asked.
"I dunno... I guess I'm just sad that Christmas is over already..."
"Well, don't worry! It's only 365 days until next Christmas!"
Mario looked at Luigi oddly.
"Okay, okay... So 'only' is a little relative... But hey, think of it this way: If you keep giving, it's like its Christmas all year around!"
Mario thought about Luigi's statement for a moment. Giving all year around... Those orphanage kids certainly need help more often than once a year... After he put the last box of decorations away, he walked over to the phone and began dialing a number.
"Huh? Who are you calling, bro?" Luigi inquired.
"The orphanage," Mario replied, "I'm seeing if they have any volunteer openings for me."
"Oh, if that's the case, see if they have any for me, too!"
"Sure thing, bro!"
As it turned out, the orphanage was more than happy to let the Mario Bros. help them out, and in doing so, they gave the greatest gift of all: A gift that is given the whole year, not just on the twenty-fifth of December. A gift that is not a material thing, but a spiritual one. A gift that every person needs and every person needs to give. A gift that was given to the entire world on that first Christmas and continues to be given to this very day. It is the gift of love.
Did you give that gift this year?