by Elizabeth Palmer from the December 30, 2013 issue
Tagline: Allie was happy to help out at the Christmas fundraising booth. And when her good deed brought Dan into her life, she was even happier!
In a Nutshell: Allie is known in her family for her elaborate gift-wrapping so volunteering to wrap gifts at the mall for a charity is a perfect fit. A man makes eye contact and smiles. She smiles back. Much later, he's there with a large donation and some gifts for her to wrap. Turns out, two of the gifts are for his dog. He just wanted to meet her.
Observations: Okay, Ms. Palmer. I hereby crown you Queen of the Holiday Stories. I'm convinced you could write a winner in your sleep.
I wanted to point out what a "perfect" hero Dan is. First, he looks good in leather. Just kidding. Because I have to go to work soon, I'll just do a laundry list of is attributes.
He's generous -- gives a large donation to Allie for the gift wrapping, which we find out later is his second donation to the Children's Hospital.
He's a devoted uncle who spends time with his niece and nephew.
He has a dog. (And he buys presents for him!)
He's honest -- he confesses to Allie about his deception.
Outside of that, I liked Allie too. She's so perky. Her elf-like perkiness jumps off the page. I also liked that tension when Allie notices the man, but he leaves. And the clever line at the end about Boxing Day being her favorite holiday? Clever!
What I did find strange was the woman whose granddaughter brought a sculpture to be wrapped. The little girl had made the sculpture in preschool and they made a special trip to the mall to get it wrapped? A little weird. Otherwise, it's easy to see why they picked this story.
Photo credit: rheaparedes (cc)