‘The Christmas Magazines’ by Dorothy Parker
From Story of the Week:
Every year I buy them,—the Christmas magazines. Every year I say, hopefully, “Perhaps this time.” And every year I say, wearily, “Never again.”
But I’ll go on buying them, and I know it. Hope does die so hard within me. Somewhere, some time, possibly here, perhaps in Heaven, I shall find a Christmas magazine without the story of the snowbound train.
You know it, don’t you? The lonely old millionaire who snorts at the mere mention of Christmas, and, on the same train, the little golden-haired child who is going to spend Christmas out at Grandma’s in the country? You know how the snow piles up, and the wires are blown down, and the anxious train-hand says that there is no chance of going on? And then, don’t you remember how the lonely old millionaire always sees the pathetic little stocking dangling out the berth occupied by the golden-haired child? So the l. o. m. (who has perhaps made his millions as a conjuror) immediately produces an elaborately decorated Christmas tree and a seething mass of toys. Maybe it isn’t conjury, though. Perhaps all millionaires can do it. I don’t know any regular millionaires, you see. I knew a man once who was supposed to be a millionaire, and he couldn’t even do card tricks, but, then, the reports of his income were probably exaggerated. According to the writers of snowbound train stories, this feat of producing Christmas trees from thin air is a very common one among millionaires.