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I was attending a special winter holiday course at my cram school.
My marks had fallen in the most recent exam so I had to get it together!
A student’s main concern was studying, so naturally Christmas wasn’t a priority.
Christmas had nothing to do with students.
With that in mind I strode into cram school only to be invited by Umewaka-kun and the others to a 1000 yen random present exchange.
Count me in!
This kind of thing really brought back memories.
In my old life my friends and I had gathered together to do a 500 yen random present exchange.
It was extra hard getting presents without knowing who would get it.
If I knew that then I could at least try to get something they’d like.
It was even worse this time because we had both sexes in the pool.
If it was all girls then I could get some cute lip gloss or a nail set, but I didn’t think the boys would appreciate that.
Oh, well maybe Iwamuro-kun might, but…
After agonising over it for a while, in the end I decided on a famous onsen bath salt set.
It wasn’t something you’d have to keep around after using, and if you didn’t like it then your family could.
I wondered if this was the right choice.
It was better than some cute bath bombs at least, since the scent of those might be too sweet for a boy.
During our lunch break on Christmas Eve, we had lunch together in the classroom before singing some songs and exchanging presents.
It was a little embarrassing because there were other people in the classroom, but it was best to be festive for these things, wasn’t it!
I wondered who would get my present.
We sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as we passed the presents along in a circle.
When the song was done I ended up with a green-ribboned present, just about large enough to fit in both hands.
I wonder whose this was.
My present ended up in Sasaki-san’s hands. Ahh, had I known it’d end up with a girl I would have just gone for the bath bombs!
How was she going to react!
“Wah, bath salts. There’s actually quite a bit here. Whose was this?”
“It was mine,” I raised my hand to looks of surprise.
“This is yours!? Wouldn’t have really expected this from you.”
“Yeah. I thought Kisshouin-san would have picked something more, rich person? High roller?”
“Uu… Sorry for failing to meet expectations…”
I see. So they weren’t expecting a young lady of Zui’ran to have chosen something so plebeian. Sorry. I messed up.
“No, no! Sorry! That’s not what I meant! I was just surprised, that’s all! I love bath salts, so I’m really glad to get this. Onsen bath salts though. You’ve got some pretty mature taste, huh.”
I knew I should have just gone with some la bath salts français! Who cares if they had salts from Beppu and Arima…
After that I opened up the present I got myself. Inside was a single heart-shaped plant of some sort in a little pot…?
“Oh, I got that one. Isn’t it cute? It’s a hoya kerii. Sometimes people call it the love-heart plant.”
“The hoya kerii,” I read, and began looking at the attached instructions for raising it.
Bad with the cold, less water needed in winter… Huh, and you didn’t need to water it every day. Maybe it would be easy to keep it.
“Thank you, Kitazawa-kun. I will try my best to take care of it!”
A plant shaped like a heart though. Guy or not, I had to admit it was a pretty stylish choice.
Everyone else excitedly opened their own presents too.
Hand creams, sweets, Christmas mugs and citrus-scented soaps…
My onsen bath salts were the least cute thing here…
Still, the Christmas mood was great! I handed out the sweets I had left over from the Petit salon, and we had that instead of Christmas cake. Yummy.
When I got home my parents were about to head out for a party.
Naturally they invited me, but I declined. Have fun.
When I got back to my room I put in ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. I ended up watching it while I had dried squid from the convenience store, with soy sauce and mayonnaise.
Somehow or other I ended up watching this every year, didn’t I~
I gulped down some green tea.
Oniichan was going to be out late with work and then the party, but that was fine.
I was fine just watching DVDs all by my lonesome and then falling asleep.
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to watch after this one yet.
Wakaba-chan was probably quite busy at her family store right now.
Sakura-chan was going to be ringing bells at the church before heading to a party at Akizawa-kun’s place as I recalled.
And Aoi-chan was… on a date? Maybe I’d email her.
Ah wait, no, then she’d realise that I had nothing better to do right now.
I had to control myself…
Umewaka-kun sent me a photo of Beatrice in a red nose and antlers.
I was expecting a photo like this, but I had expected a Santa costume instead.
But with those antlers on, considering the Cerberus incident Kaburagi would probably call her a baphomet or something.
‘I had Christmas cake with A-tan!
He got me a flower collar as a present.
Isn’t it cute?
Merry Christmas, Reika-tan!’
Merry Christmas, Bea-tan.
Late at night I sensed a presence and shot to my feet.
There was a suspicious figure in the dark!
I leapt onto my bed so that I wouldn’t be possessed.
Spirit begone! Spirit begone!
Why!? I thought ghosts were meant to appear on Halloween, not Christmas!
“Reika, Reika! It’s your Otousama! I’m not a ghost!”
I turned on my bed lamp.
In its dim lighting stood a tanuki.
“What are you doing, Otousama!”
My heart almost goddamn stopped you know! You stupid tanuki!
I’m all dizzy from standing up too fast now!
“Ah, I mean, you were at home all by yourself, so your Otousama thought he’d leave you a present by your side.”
I looked around and found something left by my bedside.
A present whose wrapping paper was a little ruffled. I must have stepped on it in the confusion.
Still trying to play Santa at this age, huh. You’re wasting your life on dreams, Tanuki.
“Well thank you. At any rate I am going back to sleep, so please return to your room.”
Otousama left my room dejectedly.
I heard Okaasama talking to him from just outside.
“Didn’t I tell you this would happen?”
Okaasama, if you’re going to dissuade him then do it properly please.
When I woke up the next morning I opened Santa Tanuki’s present.
It turned out to be a ladies watch with diamonds that tumbled above the dial.
I had no doubt that it was Okaasama who chose this…
When I arrived at breakfast two Christmas cakes from Otousama and Oniisama sat there, staring at me.
Just who was supposed to eat these.
Maybe if I brought them with me to cram school everyone would finish them for me…
I received a message from Sakura-chan.
For Christmas, Akizawa-kun had given her a ring.
What the heeeeeell!?
I gave a prayer to my love-heart plant as I watered it.
I think I should upload some of my photos from my holiday in Japan sometime.