I am sure no one saw me. I was alone in the attic out of the reach of a lonely light bulb that dangled from the rafters. I had carried them in there two or three at a time, some with their legs and arms hanging limp, others twisted in unnatural positions as if caught by surprise or maybe in protest.
I hurried. It needed to be done quickly, gotten over with. The box was on top of a stack at the back of the attic, out of sight, but I found it. With my free hand I tried to pop up the clasp. No luck. I leaned in on the box top with my elbow. I could feel them soft and warm against my chest. I reached for the clasp on the back side and yanked. The lid hiccupped like oversized Tupperware and slid to the floor.
The box wasn’t quite empty, but the light was too dim to make out what was there. It didn’t matter. I knew what I had to do; what I wanted to do. Rudolph was first. I crammed my fist into his cockeyed head and goofy red nose to smush him deep into the bottom. Then came the mixed metaphor bunny in red and green plaid, his (or could it be her?) bulging belly requiring both of my hands to hold it while I dropped in the curly-haired little girl that plays Holly Jolly Christmas ad nauseum. Next came Santa himself (his bells still jingling), and then the green frog in an elf hat with a fake toy sewn to his paw (or whatever you call frog feet).
It was cool in the attic but I’d begun to sweat as I came to the last one—a chubby polar bear looking ridiculous in a red, lacy tu-tu and white baby booties. I pushed him headfirst into the box and for an instant was face to fanny with his portly, furry bottom. You should be ashamed of yourself I muttered as I snapped on the box top. There. It’s done. Another Christmas contained.