12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar – December 8

December 8 – Amy Wellis

I don’t have a lot of happy memories of my childhood or my family. Getting kicked out while you’re still in high school tends to throw a pall over the good times. But there is one memory that I’ll never be able to forget, and I’ll never want to forget it. Every year right before Thanksgiving, Mom would start to pester me about my wish list. Not that she had to pester too hard, understand. I, like most kids, started making my list while eating my trick-or-treat candy.


It was our little joke that I would ask for a hippopotamus every year. Anyone can ask for a pony. Such a cliché. But my request had a whole song to go along with it. One Christmas holiday, my parents took me to a zoo on the mainland and I saw a real-life hippo for the first time in my life. After that, I wasn’t quite so serious about wanting one of my very own. I still liked the song, though!


Now that I have a bakery, every Christmas I put this song on the rotation and I make great big hippo shaped cookies. Kids twelve and under can come up to the counter, declare they want a hippopotamus for Christmas, and they can have one for free. And I don’t care what Kate says, they’re far more popular than the vanilla-frosted wafers I’ll hand out if a kid says all he wants are his two front teeth.


Whether it comes with teeth or hippos, I wish you and yours a very, very merry Christmas.


Amy Wellis appears in the novel On the Air, as well as short stories Prison Grove, Rounding Home, The Christmas Boat, Baked Goods, Fairytales of Squire’s Isle, and Eating Out in Squire’s Isle.