Christmas is a magical time of year. It’s a time for demolishing an entire box of chocolates before breakfast, for rolling your eyes in response to yet another appalling cracker joke, and squabbling over who gets to be the banker in the annual game of Monopoly. It’s a time for suspending disbelief, and embracing the possibility that dreams really can come true. For high school student Ryan in Sock it to Me, Santa!, a touching short story by Madison Parker, it’s a time for falling in love.
No one has ever suspected Ryan might be gay, and it’s his mission to ensure they remain in ignorance. The last thing he wants is to end up like Jamie Peterson, picked on for his earrings and rainbow-colored clothes, and for wearing his sexuality proudly on his sleeve. Much as Ryan admires this boldness, he hates the way Jamie is treated by their classmates, and is desperate to avoid becoming a target himself. Much safer to keep a low profile and steer clear of the spotlight, even if it means hiding who he really is.
When Ryan is assigned to Jamie in his school Secret Santa, he’s horrified. If anyone discovers that he has to make a handcrafted gift for the class’s social outcast, he’ll never hear the end of it. Yet, despite his discomfort, he’s determined to give Jamie a present he’ll like. It’s only fair, considering the bullying the other boy has to endure on a daily basis. What Ryan doesn’t count on is that the more he learns about Jamie, the more eager he will be to spend time with him, and before he realizes what’s happening, he’s in way over his head.
Sock it to Me, Santa! is a sweet novella about the ups and downs of first love, and accepting that being yourself is far more important than what others think of you. I found both Ryan and Jamie to be incredibly lovable characters, and thoroughly enjoyed watching them take the first tentative steps towards what would surely turn out to be something special. If you’re looking for a story to snuggle up with over the festive period, one which captures the magic of Christmas and that will truly warm your heart, why not treat yourself and give this book a go?