Christmas Time of the Year
by Judith Freudenthal
December first came and went. Mulder and Scully were once again on the road tracking down another mutant. Christmas decorations were everywhere. Christmas music drifted down from every store speaker.
Scully arrived home the day before her mother's birthday, glad she had bought both the card and gift ahead of time. She was exhausted and crashed as soon as she handed in her report.
The next evening Mulder arrived at Dana's before Margaret. Dana was putting the finishing touches on the table when her mother rang the bell and was let in by Mulder.
"Happy Birthday, Mom." Dana hugged her mother.
"Happy Birthday, Margaret."
"Thank you, Fox."
Dana was curious to see what Mulder had picked out for her mother.
Dana served a large dinner, impressing both Mulder and Margaret. Work talk was forbidden that evening, anything else was a fair topic.
After dinner Margaret opened her presents. She loved the silk blouse her daughter gave her and the fine leather gloves Mulder gave her.
A week later found Dana braving the madness at the mall to do her holiday shopping. She usually tried to have it done earlier, but work had been rather busy lately.
She picked out gifts for Mulder, her mom, sister, brothers, and Skinner. She also had to pick up her Christmas cards. She hated sending them out late.
She found Mulder and Skinner the hardest to shop for.
She set up her tree that evening after work. She loved to set it up no later than mid December and leave it up until sometime after the New Year. She checked out the lights to make sure they worked before she strung the tree with them. Next she hung her favorite ornaments on the tree, filling in the extra branches with regular balls, icicles and other ornaments she had.
Then she set about decorating her apartment. When she was finished the place was quite festive, but very tasteful.
The next evening she wrapped her presents, making sure to securely pack those that she had to ship to her out of state brothers.
Her weekend was spent addressing Christmas cards. She wrote notes inside each of those to her friends and closer colleagues. The ones to general colleagues both old and current she just wrote a standard holiday greeting.
Mulder on the other hand, put up minimal decorations. He had a tiny sparsely decorated tree, with a single strand of lights draped around it. He sent out a handful of holiday cards.
The only thing he paid particular care to were the gifts to the Scully women. He also picked his mom out a nice gift. He wasn't sure which of them was the hardest to shop for.
Several days before Christmas Eve the Bureau had its annual party. Scully and Mulder were required to at least make an appearance.
Scully showed up in a beautiful dress, coming just below her knees. Mulder wore a nicer suit, than his standard ones. After they made their perfunctory appearance they split.
The next day Mulder, Scully and Skinner exchanged gifts.
Early Christmas afternoon Mulder rang Scully's doorbell. Scully answered, dressed nicely as was Mulder.
"Merry Christmas, Scully."
"Merry Christmas, Mulder."
Christmas music softly playing in the background. The tree was lit up. They walked over to the couch, sat down and exchanged gifts.
"Can I get you anything to drink?"
Scully opened her gift from Mulder. She pulled a black T-shirt out of the box with a glow in the dark alien on it."
"Just what I needed," she teased. She saw something else in the box. She pulled out a royal blue silk blouse. "It's beautiful. Thank you." Scully looked at the tag. "It's even the right size."
"After all the time we spent together I should know what size you wear."
Mulder opened his present from her. Inside the box was the strangest tie she could find. It had little alien's parading across it. Mulder got a huge grin on his face. "This is perfect." He was about to set the box down when he saw that she had picked out something else. There was a lovely pale blue oxford shirt in the box, hidden under a single sheet of tissue paper.
"Thank you. I have just the outfit to wear it with."
Margaret was having her daughters and Mulder over for Christmas dinner. They boys had not been able to make it this year.
Mulder and Scully arrived together, gifts in hand and rang the doorbell.
Margaret opened the door and took their coats. They entered the family room, finding Melissa there. The large tree was lit. Christmas carols played softly in the background. The fireplace was blazing, giving the room a cozy warmth.
Dana and Fox put their presents under the tree before greeting Melissa and Margaret. Hugs and greetings were exchanged.
Dinner was ready. Melissa helped her mother carry the last couple of dishes to the table. Margaret pointed out where she wanted everyone to sit. Before long the ham, mashed sweet potatoes, and bread were being passed around. Once everyone's plates were filled they began eating. Conversation flowed, work the one forbidden subject.