The Christmas Robin
Womans Weekly Fiction Special|December 2020
Presents to buy, food to cook and a tree to decorate – could she create the perfect day?
Rebecca Mansell

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Elizabeth paused a moment and looked up from making her mince pies to gaze out of the frosty window.

There he was again, their persistent little red robin. He stared back at her with curious brown eyes, his head tilting from side to side, as if trying to understand what she was doing inside.

A lot, Elizabeth would have said, if only he could understand her.

For the last week she had been so busy, preparing for Christmas. There was always so much to do and she was beginning to feel overwhelmed. Would she ever get it all done in time?

Elizabeth’s thinking was broken by her husband entering the kitchen, scratching his head and yawning. She tried not to be annoyed by his lack of help, but she knew full well that he’d nodded off again while reading the newspaper. If only she could just curl up and read a book by the fi re.

‘Oh, he’s there again, I see.’

Jack stood looking out of the window and then smiled at his wife, giving her a quick hug. He glanced around the kitchen.

‘What are you looking for?’

Elizabeth felt a bit distracted. She had a lot on her list to do today. Tania and Amelia were arriving in the afternoon, bringing their respective partners and the grandchildren, and she still hadn’t fi nished the tree. Those last-minute presents needed wrapping, too, and she had forgotten where she put that ribbon she’d bought last week.

‘My glasses,’ murmured Jack. ‘I was going to do the crossword.’

Elizabeth’s shoulders tensed. She wished she could relax and be like her husband. He’d always had the laid-back attitude of going with the fl ow that she couldn’t help but envy at times. For their entire marriage he’d often urged her to slow down, not take on so much. Perhaps he was right, but she had always wanted things to be perfect and right now, she felt resentful. It was Christmas, after all, and work needed to be done!

‘Oh, there they are,’ Jack said picking up a blue case from behind a Christmas cookery book. ‘It smells delicious in here.’

Elizabeth nodded and wondered if she would have time to do a bit of shopping later as well. She still had a few small gifts to buy for their grandchildren Nothing too much, but it would be a little time consuming, visiting various shops. She’d spoken to both of her daughters to fi nd out what Susan, Amy and Wayne wanted.

Susan was a bookworm, so that had been easy to research and, fortunately, her golden-haired granddaughter still wanted to turn pages rather than gaze at a screen. Amy wanted ballet clothes as she was loving her new classes and Wayne needed a new laptop for his studies, so they had agreed to all contribute and make it his main Christmas present.

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