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He frowned at himself in the mirror as he adjusted the red fedora.

“I’m still not convinced this suits me,” he said.

His wife looked up from her sewing and shook her head good naturedly. “It looks fine, Nick,” she said.

He huffed as he wriggled his shoulders inside the neatly tailored jacket. “This isn’t half as comfortable as my old suit,” he muttered.

“You’ll get used to it, my dear,” she said.

“Look,” he said, pointing at his trousers. “They’re creased already. The old suit didn’t get crumpled up like this. I look a state, and I’ve not even left the house.”

His wife stood up. “If you don’t like it,” she started.

“Don’t like it,” he muttered, “Can’t afford not to like it now, can I? Most expensive suit I ever got. I’m stuck with it now. I can’t believe those elves talked me into this. Marketing. Publicity. Modern new look. Whatever happened to just giving presents to deserving children, eh?”

She shrugged and smiled as she caressed his neat white goatee. “Well, you’re still giving presents, aren’t you? What’s the harm in looking a little…”

He looked at her resentfully. “Slimmer?”

“Sharper,” she said, running a finger lightly along the shoulder of his jacket. “And I happen to like the new look Santa.”

He smiled slightly. “Well, maybe that’s enough to get my money’s worth out of this marketing malarkey. Will you still be up when I get home?”

She laughed, a musical sound that echoed the sleighbells ringing outside. “I always am, love. Drive carefully. And don’t forget your new catchphrase.”

He kissed her cheek. “I won’t,” he said. “But I still preferred the good old ‘ho ho ho’.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The “Write Anything” Fiction Friday challenge was… “Santa has employed a publicity agent and marketing firm to revamp his style; as he feels he has lost touch with the modern child.” )