A cold wind blew over the snowy plains of Saskatchewan. Those unfortunate enough to be outside shivered and longed for the warmer days of summer. Those inside a certain gas station ignored the weather entirely, instead troubling themselves with a decorating dilemma.

Brent arranged and rearranged the coloured bulbs along a sparkling silver garland. "Hmm." Unsatisfied, he pulled them off once again and glanced over his shoulder at the counter. "Should I go for green-red-green or red-red-green-green?"

Wanda looked up briefly from the crossword puzzle she was busying herself with and shrugged. "Does it really matter what pattern you go with? You could be daring and just randomize it."

"Jeez, someone's low on Christmas spirit. Pattern means everything. Besides, it'll look more professional."

She snickered. "'Professional.' This from the man who wore slippers to work last week."

Brent pointed menacingly at her with a candy cane. "They were comfy."

The entrance to the gas station opened, letting a cold gust of wind blow into the building. It was followed by a cheerful greeting. "Hey Brent. Decoratin'?"


Hank rubbed his gloved hands together, nodding in approval. "Nice to see folks gettin' into the holiday spirit." And, without missing a beat, "hey, uh... think I could borrow some money?"

"'Tis the season to be generous... No."

"What? But that's not Christmas spirit! That's... that's Scrooge spirit!"

Brent shrugged dismissively. "Bah, humbug."

Dejected, Hank wandered toward the counter. "Hey Wan--"

"Don't even ask." She tapped her pencil against the counter for emphasis.

Brent nodded at this. "I've already decided Wanda has no Christmas spirit this year. She's even shunning patterns."

Hank looked around in desperation and, seeing nobody else to mooch off of, headed towards the door. He sniffed indignantly. "Well, just remember when the ghost of Tiny Tim comes knockin' tonight, you coulda lent me a buck!"

Wanda watched him leave, then turned to Brent after a moment. "You know, I'm suddenly feeling a lot more festive."