Christmas was always one of Namjoon’s favorite holidays. While most people enjoyed the New Year’s celebration much more than Christmas, Namjoon was the opposite. Every year at the end of November, he eagerly awaited December 1st and the subsequent celebrations to come.
It hadn’t always been this way. When Namjoon was a kid, his parents never celebrated Christmas much. The holiday was seen as more of a Western thing, and his conservative parents didn’t want to partake in the tradition. They weren’t Christian either, so they wouldn’t partake in the non-consumerist aspect of the holiday either.
Namjoon didn’t start to celebrate Christmas until he was an adult, married and with kids. Boyoung introduced him to both the consumerist and religious parts of Christmas. She bought a small tree for their two-bedroom apartment in the center of Seoul, decorating it with colorful spheres that glistened against the string lights wrapped around the faux-pines. Soon, pictures of their two young children adorned the tree as well, in little sliver picture frames that reflected the light in a magnificent manner.
Those first five years of marriage were lovely. Well...not necessarily. Christmas was nice, but the marriage wasn’t. Namjoon’s sixth Christmas was spent alone in a small studio apartment with his two kids, filling out divorce papers while also trying to make this holiday fun for his four-year-old daughter Nayeon, and his two-year-old son Jungkook.
And that was when Santa came into the picture.
Something about the Santa role always fascinated Namjoon. He would never dress up as the guy himself, but Namjoon loved the traditions surrounding the mysterious man from the North Pole. Writing lists, making cookies, getting little notes on Christmas Day. The role of Santa was something that Namjoon wanted to embrace. He desired for his kids to experience something he never experienced during his childhood, because they were only young for so long. But becoming Santa was also one way for Namjoon to cope with everything going on at this time. Finding a better place to live. His wife moving to Canada. Gaining custody of his kids, because his wife didn’t seem to want much to do with them. Grappling with the fact that he was gay, and that he would never love his wife as a significant other.
Like how Santa brought children around the world lots of joy, the role of Santa brought Namjoon comfort when everything in his life was seemingly falling apart.
Fast forward eight years later, and Santa was still making his rounds at the Kim household, now a three-bedroom apartment in a nice Seoul neighborhood. It was the end of November, a few days before December 1st, when all the festivities started. Nayeon and Jungkook were at home, as their appa was out on a date. Yes—a date.
Namjoon had been dating Yoongi for a little over six months now. He was Namjoon’s first serious partner in a long time. Namjoon dated a few people when his kids were younger but determined that he was better off waiting until the kids were older before he tried to pursue any serious relationships again. That way, he could bond with his children and create a healthy living environment for them. That was most important of all.
Back in the spring, Namjoon had downloaded a dating app on a whim. He never had set a specific timeframe for when he would try to pursue a relationship again, but Namjoon’s midlife crisis prompted him to install both Grindr and Tinder. That first night, he stayed up until 3AM swiping left and right on men who for the most part, didn’t interest him.
Fast forward a week, and he stumbled upon Yoongi’s profile on Tinder. They both matched, started messaging each other, and boom. A date was scheduled and they had been going out ever since.
Yoongi was a year older than Namjoon, and he didn’t mind that Namjoon had kids. He was also divorced, but he and his ex-wife never had children. The fact that both men had similar backgrounds meant that they got along well, and understood the sensitivity of the situation. Yoongi hadn’t done much with the entire family thus far, and Christmas was going to be his first holiday with the Kim family.
As they sat and drank coffee after a long day of work, Namjoon began to gush about all of the Christmas traditions he partook in every year. Namely, he was extremely excited about once again, getting to take on the Santa role he loved so much.
“Aren’t your kids a bit old to believe in Santa?” asked Yoongi. He saw how Namjoon’s facial expression changed slightly as if he was offended but also sad. Of course, Yoongi’s intention wasn’t to make him feel that way, but the older man wondered if Namjoon’s kids were a bit...naïve. The internet existed for a reason.
“Well…” Namjoon was at a loss for words, it seemed. “They haven’t asked if he was real or not so far. I’ll keep up with the tradition until they tell me that they don’t believe anymore. No harm in that, right?”
Yoongi backtracked a bit. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“Oh you didn’t,” Namjoon quickly reassured his boyfriend. “Your question just made me realize that they’re getting older, and that made me a bit sad. Sometimes I forget that they’re not little kids anymore.”
December 1st, 6AM. Namjoon always got up early to set up their Elf on the Shelf, which they had owned for seven years at this point. It was expensive to get as it wasn’t sold in Korea, but regardless, Norae (yes... five-year-old Nayeon named it “Song”) was set up every year in a different spot around the house. Namjoon used to move the thing around every night when the kids were sleeping, but it’s usage as a Santa spying device had waned over the years. Now, Norae was just another decoration of many.
Since December 1st was a Sunday this year, Namjoon opted to set up the Christmas tree on this day as well. They had a fake tree, with multicolored lights and a good amount of ornaments. Many of the ornaments were family pictures, along with the standard colored balls that Namjoon bought in bulk from IKEA. Jungkook insisted that they add silver tinsel, so that was strung across the tree as well.
Namjoon added some more decorations around the apartment and strung some lights on their balcony. Except, he ended up dropping a strand of lights during the process, it nearly hitting a person who was standing on the sidewalk five stories below.
December 2nd, 5PM. Nayeon and Jungkook were home from school, and Namjoon had arrived home from work a few moments prior. Both kids were sitting in the living room, waiting for six words to be uttered.
“Time to make your Christmas lists!”
Even though having his kids write their lists on a Word document with links would create a much easier task for him later on, Namjoon still had Jungkook and Nayeon handwrite their lists. He gave them each a piece of paper that already had “Dear Santa” printed on it, and was decorated festively. It seemed as if Namjoon was more excited about this than his kids were because while Jungkook started to write things down, Nayeon seemed rather hesitant.
Because she didn’t believe. And neither did Jungkook, but he was much better at acting like he did than his sister was.
Nayeon had started to doubt her belief in Santa two years earlier when she was ten. Even though her friends had been telling her that Santa wasn’t real for some time, she still kept up her belief. He wouldn’t come if she didn’t believe, and well, Nayeon did like receiving gifts every year and making cookies to put out for the Christmas man.
It was around midnight, and Nayeon wasn’t able to fall asleep, partially due to her not being that tired, and partially due to her being excited. To cure this ailment, she got up out of bed to go and get a glass of milk. It wasn’t like she would see Santa in the process, and if she did, she was sure he'd understand why she was awake now. He always did in the movies.
Tiptoeing out of her room, Nayeon slowly made her way to the fridge. Oddly enough, there were still lights on in the kitchen and living room, even though it seemed as if everyone would be sleeping at this point.
But then, Nayeon saw.
Her father was sitting on the couch, happily eating the plate of cookies she and Jungkook had put out for Santa. He wasn’t facing his daughter, so Nayeon was able to observe the situation. Namjoon was eating the cookies, whilst watching some video on his phone. All the gifts were already under the tree, and the envelopes with the letters Nayeon and Jungkook received from Santa were there as well. Did Santa come and not eat the cookies? Did he come and talk to appa and agree to let appa eat the cookies?
Something was up, and Nayeon knew it. Maybe her friends were right—she was too naïve and needed to realize that Santa was only a figment of her imagination and that her father was the real gift giver. Going back to her room without a glass of milk, Nayeon couldn’t help but wonder what the truth was.
Fast forward another year, and Nayeon was having doubts again. So, she set up a test. An expensive test. As she made her Christmas list, she put down that she wanted the blue iPhone XR, along with a few cases for it. She also listed out a bunch of clothes that she wanted, along with a bean bag chair for her room. If Santa was real, then surely she would receive most of these items, including the iPhone. Nayeon knew that her father had told her for a while that she wasn’t old enough to get a phone yet, but Santa was different. As long as you were good, then Santa would bring whatever you desired. Santa didn’t have a budget or an age limit.
Christmas Eve arrived once again, and Nayeon fell asleep much easier this year. Part of her wanted to get up and spy on her father to see if he was doing the same thing as the previous year, but part of her didn’t. Maybe she just didn’t want to give her belief just yet. Was she ready to grow up yet? Nayeon didn’t know.
But then, Nayeon woke up around 1AM with a slight pain in her lower abdomen. How lovely. She also had to pee, which meant that she would have to get up and use the bathroom. Still, she wouldn’t have to go into the living room and potentially ruin her innocence once again, like she had done the previous year.
Nayeon quietly walked down to the bathroom, thinking that maybe this was some weird stomach ache. She had eaten a fair amount of cookies earlier. But one quick look at the red tint of the toilet water and the small crimson dot in her underwear indicated that this was definitely not a stomach ache.
Nayeon had more things to worry about now than her belief in Santa. Fuck the man in the red suit—she had blood coming out of her and she didn’t know why. Sex Ed in Korea wasn’t great, and Nayeon had absolutely no idea what was going on. Was she dying? Would she not even be able to see the results of her Santa-phone-experiment?
Balling up some toilet paper and taking some medicine to lessen the pain, Nayeon left the bathroom to go find her father. She wasn’t surprised to find him fast asleep on the couch, drool coming out of his mouth as he snored rather loudly. The plate of cookies was sitting on the table, except it had been cleared now. There weren’t any gifts under the tree, but Nayeon figured that Namjoon hadn’t gotten around to placing them under there just yet.
Not caring about her father getting mad at her for being awake at this hour, Nayeon gently tapped on Namjoon’s shoulder. “Appa?” She whispered quietly, hoping he would wake up.
It took a few minutes of doing this, Nayeon getting more anxious as they went on. Eventually, Namjoon woke up, his eyes still closed as he groggily spoke. “What?”
“Umm…” Nayeon had no idea how to explain what was going on. “I’m bleeding.”
“You’re what?” Namjoon’s eyes opened now, but he was still rather sleepy. Nayeon stood nervously, unsure of what else to say, or how to explain.
“I’m bleeding appa. And I don’t know why.” Namjoon could hear how nervous his daughter sounded, which made him immensely worried.
Namjoon sat up, mustering the minimal amount of energy he had. He had only been sleeping for around 20 minutes before this moment and was rather tired. “Did you injure yourself?”
Nayeon shook her head. “I...I don’t think so.”
“Where are you bleeding?” Nayeon pointed, and suddenly Namjoon realized. No wonder the poor girl was so distraught, she probably had no idea about what was going on. Namjoon hadn’t discussed periods and all that yet, mainly because he hoped they would do it in school, or she would be older when it happened and would know what to do. But that wasn’t the case right now, so Namjoon took his daughter into his arms, told her what was going on, and that she would be ok.
Upon hearing “you’re a woman now”, Nayeon thought that maybe, getting her period was some sort of sign. She was too old to believe in Santa now, and it was evident that there wasn’t a magical man who gave gifts to children all around the world in one night.
The next morning, Nayeon got up feeling better than she did the night before. She and Jungkook went into the living room, opening up their presents as they did every Christmas morning. Sure enough, Nayeon did get an iPhone, the exact one she wanted as well (Namjoon had a coworker who was selling it so that he could buy the iPhone XS instead, and Namjoon got it for a low price). Regardless, she knew that while she got all the gifts she wanted, Santa wasn’t real. It didn’t logically make sense either.
A few days later, Nayeon enlightened Jungkook of her newfound knowledge. Sure enough, he already came to the same realization that Santa wasn’t real, mainly because the Santa trackers online always had Santa in two very different places at the same time. But, he and Nayeon both came to the conclusion that for the next year, they would keep up with the illusion that they believed, because it made their father happy.
So sure enough, as they wrote their Christmas lists this year, Nayeon and Jungkook acted as if they believed. Jungkook was especially good at it, writing down his list with enthusiasm as he had done every year prior. This made Namjoon smile, because while his wallet was crying, he loved to spoil his kids. The smile on Nayeon’s face when she got the phone last year was priceless and was a much nicer expression compared to the one she wore when Namjoon handed her a box of pads.
But Nayeon was struggling to think of anything to write down on her list this year. She felt guilty making her father spend a lot of money on things that she didn’t need. She really wanted a pair of Airpods but didn’t put those down because they weren’t cheap. While Santa didn’t have a budget, her father did, and Nayeon was old enough to know this. After putting down a bunch of inexpensive clothes she wanted, Nayeon got up from the table, finished with her list-making.
Namjoon glanced at his daughter’s short Christmas list. “Is this all you want?”
“I don’t have many ideas,” replied Nayeon. “Yo- Santa can surprise me.” Thankfully, Nayeon caught herself before it was too late. Her father seemed content with her response, much to Nayeon’s relief.
The problem was, she still had a few more weeks of faking her belief in Father Christmas. She couldn’t reveal that she didn’t believe, so Nayeon knew that she would have to do everything in her power to ensure that the Santa tradition remained intact.
December 21st. Cookie day. Cookie day varied from year to year, but it usually was the weekend before Christmas (unless Christmas was on the weekend). It happened to be a Saturday this year, which was convenient for both Namjoon and his kids.
Except there was one thing that was different this year. Yoongi would be joining them.
Namjoon had asked Nayeon and Jungkook if they were alright with having Yoongi come over for cookie day, and potentially on Christmas Day as well. Jungkook didn’t seem to care much, and Nayeon said it was alright. Now, she wasn’t thrilled about it necessarily, but it made her dad happy, and that’s what mattered most of all.
It was 2PM when Yoongi arrived, right on time. Nayeon was still getting ready and intended on taking as long as possible to come out into the kitchen. She wasn’t as excited about making cookies as she was in the past, for multiple reasons. No longer was there the excitement of getting to put cookies out for Santa, and the tradition was changing as well. Nayeon heard the door open and subsequently slowed down the process of picking out an outfit to wear. Not that she wanted to wear something nice—her clothes were bound to get dirty—but they had a guest, and she didn’t want to look like trash.
Jungkook was already out in the living room, and while nervous, politely greeted Yoongi. He had met his dad’s boyfriend before, along with Nayeon. The difference was that this time, they weren’t at some restaurant or at a museum. Yoongi had never been to the Kim apartment when the kids were there and hadn’t been there that many times in general. So it was a new situation, which Namjoon was keenly aware of. That was why he planned an activity for everyone to do, so there would be no awkward lulls or anything of that sort. And cookie making was a very hands-on process, meaning that an extra person would be much appreciated.
Namjoon always made four types of cookies. Gingerbread, sugar, chocolate chip and chocolate peppermint. The gingerbread and sugar cookies were always decorated, which in itself took a couple hours to do. It was a long process, but Namjoon enjoyed it greatly.
Nayeon came out when the sugar cookies were being baked, meaning it took her a good 90 minutes to emerge from her room. Since no one was checking on her and forcing her out, she ended up video chatting with her friends from the inside of her closet, so that no one could hear her. Yes, it was a total teenager move, but she didn’t care. Even though she was super stiff afterward from squeezing inside her small closet for over an hour.
Wearing a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt (whatever, she’d get an apron), Nayeon walked out of her room into the kitchen. Jungkook was eating half of the batter of the second batch of sugar cookies, while Yoongi and Namjoon were flirting as they made frosting for the sugar cookies. No one even noticed that she emerged from her bedroom, except for Jungkook who smiled and gave her a wave, clearly not thinking about the stomach ache he was going to have later.
“Umm...appa? Can I have an apron?” As she asked this, Nayeon noticed that Yoongi was wearing a pink apron, the one that Namjoon had bought for her last year. That was just...did he really not buy an apron for his boyfriend? Could Yoongi not bring his own? The pink apron was a bit small on him anyways since it was meant for a woman.
Namjoon turned around, smiling when he noticed that his daughter was joining them. He wasn’t sure if she was going to join them or not since lately she had been going through a stage where her friends were much more important than family. “Hi, Nayeon-ah. Umm...I gave Yoongi your apron, but why don’t you take Jungkook’s for now? He isn’t doing much.”
Jungkook groaned. “Appa, I’m mixing the batter. See?” He took a clean spatula and began to stir ¾ of the batter that had been there originally.
“I...I can just put on a different shirt. I’ll be right back.” Nayeon left the kitchen, immediately going back into her room. She locked the door, so she could be alone.
Was it stupid that she was feeling upset over this? It was an apron, nothing big. Except it was big, because Nayeon hated that her dad’s boyfriend took more precedence over her. Couldn’t her appa have asked Yoongi to take off his apron, which wasn’t even his? Everything was changing, and Nayeon couldn’t handle it. Christmas used to be about getting gifts from Santa and doing all the Santa traditions, but that wasn’t the case anymore. Now, Christmas wasn’t about the make-believe—it was all about the real. Real relationships that weren’t going to change anytime soon.
Nayeon wasn’t going to sit and cry over this, so she switched her outfit to a black t-shirt and a pair of gray sweatpants. These could get stained and she wouldn’t care, plus she didn’t care about how she looked now. She was in a shitty mood but had to put a smile on her face because she didn’t want her appa to know that anything was wrong. He was so happy, and Nayeon didn’t want to ruin his happy moment.
Coming back out into the kitchen, Nayeon put herself to work. Taking the sugar cookie batter from Jungkook, she began to roll it out onto the counter. From there, she took a few cookie cutters and began to create cookies of various shapes. Christmas trees, snowflakes, bells. While it wasn’t as if she was enjoying it greatly, Nayeon didn’t have to speak with anyone, which was the best part of all.
“Those look lovely, Nayeon-ah.” Nayeon had been so involved with her thoughts that she didn’t realize someone was talking to her right away. The voice didn’t sound like her father’s, and it definitely wasn’t Jungkook’s, which could only mean…
Just be polite. Just be polite. “Thank you.” Nayeon hoped that would be a satisfactory answer, considering she wasn’t about to talk for any longer. Thankfully, she didn’t have to, as it was clear by her tone of voice that she didn’t want to converse for long.
A few hours passed by, and it soon was dinner time. Nayeon was taking a break from cookies now, but she would decorate the sugar cookies and the gingerbread ones later when they had cooled enough. Namjoon decided to order pizza because it was something that usually satisfied everyone.
“What pizza do you want Nayeon-ah?” asked Namjoon. He was going to order a Hawaiian pizza, which he figured would be what she wanted, as that was her favorite.
“Anything but the potato pizza,” replied Nayeon, making a gagging sound. She absolutely hated the potato pizza from Mr. Pizza and refused to eat it at all costs. Namjoon chuckled in response, finding his daughter’s dislike of that particular pizza rather amusing.
Soon enough, the pizza was delivered, and everyone began munching away. Minus Jungkook, who was full from eating cookie batter and multiple cookies throughout the afternoon. Nayeon tried to bring her phone to the table but was unsuccessful in that quest. So, she ate quickly and only talked minimally. Which she was able to do since Jungkook didn’t mind talking with Yoongi whatsoever.
If only she could be more like her brother.
Nayeon did enjoy decorating the gingerbread and sugar cookies. She decorated a good 80% of them, mainly because Jungkook had resorted to playing Fortnite, and because it was clear that her father and Yoongi wanted to talk for a while. Even though it was 45℉ outside, they went onto the balcony, closing the sliding door behind them. Likely they just wanted some privacy.
Since she was alone whilst sitting at the dining room table, Nayeon was able to decorate in relative peace. Frankly, she did not expect to be enjoying this as much as she did in the past, but it was satisfying to draw little outfits onto the gingerbread people and to make little ornaments on the Christmas trees. She was good at it as well, meaning that the end result was always quite nice. Not to mention that since she decorated the majority of the cookies, she had full artistic freedom to do whatever she so desired. That was awesome.
Every gingerbread cookie was either wearing a tuxedo or a polka dot dress. There was no in-between. The rest of the cookies had more variety to them, except for the snowflakes because well, it was a snowflake after all. Eventually, Namjoon and Yoongi came back inside, much to Nayeon’s dismay. She was enjoying the peace and quiet. Well, relative peace and quiet, because she could still hear Jungkook gaming in his room.
“Those look lovely Nayeon-ah,” beamed Namjoon as he looked at the effort his daughter had put in. It was quite impressive, considering she was only twelve years old.
“Why so many polka dot dresses?” asked Yoongi, not in a demeaning manner, but in a curious one. Unfortunately, Nayeon interpreted this the wrong way, probably because she was feeling really uncomfortable once again and didn’t know what to do.
“Because I like them, that’s why.” Nayeon knew that her response was sassy and rude and that she was probably going to get in trouble for responding in that way, but she didn’t care. Her semi-decent mood was ruined now, and she got up to retreat to her room, where she could rant to her friends or write in her diary. Something to make her feel better about this whole situation that wasn’t making her feel great at all.
Namjoon noticed that after Nayeon left the room, Yoongi looked at him with a worried expression. “Did I say something wrong?”
“No no,” Namjoon was quick to reassure his boyfriend. “She’s just a bit moody, that’s all.”
With that, Yoongi felt it was probably time for him to leave. Saying goodbye to Namjoon, he left the apartment, planning to return a few days later for Christmas.
Christmas Eve, Namjoon’s second most favorite day of the year. Behind Christmas Day, of course. The Kim family had a few traditions they did on this day, none of which were very time consuming or involved a lot of work.
Namjoon always made sure that Christmas Day was just him and his kids. No one else was ever allowed over, and the three remained in the apartment for the entire day. This made Nayeon rather happy because it was one event that remained unchanged.
Well, except for the part where she would have to fake excitement when putting out cookies for “Santa”. But whatever, she wouldn’t think about that now.
The one thing that Nayeon disliked was that her father insisted that they all wear matching pajamas. This year, he bought a pair with snowmen on it, which wasn’t as bad as the pair he bought last year that was full of reindeer. The snowmen appealed to Nayeon more. They always put the pajamas on at 7PM, after they ate the fried chicken that they always devoured on Christmas Eve.
Once they finished their dinner, Namjoon made hot chocolate, before putting on a movie for them to watch. This year they were watching Elf, which wasn’t anything overly spectacular. Jungkook watched the movie with Namjoon, while Nayeon went on her phone most of the time. Namjoon didn’t care that she was on her phone, because it was only a movie and he wanted his daughter to be content and happy. He could tell that something about her demeanor was off, but he wasn’t sure why she was feeling that way.
90 minutes later and the movie was over. It was only 9PM, so Namjoon asked the kids if they wanted to watch something else. Upon receiving a verbalized no from Jungkook and zero response from Nayeon (she had earbuds in), Namjoon got up to start cleaning the dishes from earlier. Jungkook retreated to his room to play Fortnite (per the usual), while Nayeon stayed in the chair she had been sitting in for a while now. Some time passed before she took out her earbuds, looking over towards her father who was just about done with the dishwashing.
“Who’s coming to the party tomorrow?” Nayeon already knew the answer to her inquiry, but was hoping that her appa would take the hint of what she was trying to ask about through this simplistic question.
“Uncle Hoseok, Uncle Seokjin, and your cousins.” Hoseok and Seokjin weren’t Nayeon and Jungkook’s actual uncles, but they acted as such. Namjoon no longer communicated with his family any longer, for they had pretty much ex-communicated him when he got divorced and subsequently came out as gay. But Namjoon’s friends were his family, and they were the ones he communicated with. Namjoon only heard from his mother once a year, who pretty much called to ask what the grandkids were doing and to make sure he was alive. Morbid, but Namjoon couldn’t change the mindset of his ultra-conservative family. He was content with his life though and did what he could to make sure his kids were happy.
Nayeon was confused. “Is Yoongi-ssi not coming?” She tried to hide her slight excitement at the fact that Christmas might still be normal this year. Well, that sounded bad. She didn’t hate Yoongi, but she wanted to feel comfortable as well. Change wasn’t always easy.
“Oh, I almost forgot. Yoongi is coming too. Is that a problem?”
The way Namjoon worded the last question made Nayeon feel uncomfortable. No, it wasn’t a problem, and she was being selfish by not wanting him there. She knew she needed to accept that her father had a partner and that she wasn’t going to ever have a mother figure in her life, but that was hard. Getting used to all these new traditions was hard. Losing her belief in Santa and growing up was hard. Everything right now was hard.
Nayeon didn’t respond to her appa’s question. Instead, she curled up into a ball and started to quietly cry, hoping that it wasn’t too loud to be noticed.
“Nayeon-ah?” After not getting a response, Namjoon turned around and saw that Nayeon was all curled up. He turned off the sink and could hear quiet sobs, and immediately he dried off his hands and went over to where his daughter was sitting.
Namjoon placed his arm around Nayeon, but she pushed it right off of her. “Leave me alone.”
“What’s wrong Nayeon-ah?”
“It’s stupid and selfish.”
“Nayeon-ah, you can tell me anything. I won’t be upset. Tell me honestly, what’s bothering you, sweetheart?” Namjoon suspected this had to do with Yoongi, but he couldn’t be sure until his daughter said that herself.
Nayeon lifted her head up, which made her more embarrassed because she looked disgusting when she cried. But she wanted to make sure she was heard clearly, so she wouldn’t have to explain herself numerous times. “I don’t like all the changes that are happening appa. And I feel horrible about feeling that way because I know you love Yoongi-ssi a lot and that I should try and love him too, but I can’t. And I just wish things could stay the same.”
Namjoon understood where his daughter was coming from. He knew that it was hard for kids to get used to new family situations, which is why he had waited a long time to date again. It was also why he introduced Yoongi to his kids gradually, making sure that he didn’t place them in situations where they felt uncomfortable. But it was now clear that he was moving a bit too fast.
“I’m sorry you feel that way Nayeon-ah. I want both you and Jungkook-ah to feel comfortable around Yoongi, and I understand that’s a hard thing to do. Can I ask why you feel uncomfortable around him?”
“I don’t know why,” replied Nayeon. “Maybe because...well…” she hesitated for a moment, not knowing if she should say what she wanted to say. But it came out anyway. “Deep down, I’ve always wished I would have a mom again someday and...Yoongi-ssi isn’t...he’s not a mom.”
Namjoon sighed. “Nayeon-ah, you know…”
“I know appa, I know. That’s why this is selfish. I should be happy for you.”
“But you know Nayeon-ah, I would never put you or Jungkook-ah into a situation that doesn’t work for all three of us. I could be head-over-heels in love, but I wouldn’t stay in a relationship if my kids weren’t happy. You and your brother are the most important people in my life.”
“Then why did you give Yoongi-ssi my apron?” asked Nayeon with discontent, crossing her arms as well.
“I didn’t know that it would bother you, sweetheart. I’m sorry that it did though, that was my mistake.” Namjoon did look genuinely sorry, which did make Nayeon feel a bit immature. It was only an apron—she really didn’t need to be that upset about it.
A few moments passed, and Namjoon got up from the spot on the floor he was sitting on. This time, Nayeon didn’t reject the hug from her father, nor the small kiss on her forehead. “Is it alright if Yoongi comes tomorrow? If you don’t feel comfortable, then that’s okay. He’ll understand.”
“He can come appa. I want you to be happy. But maybe you can tell him that I’m nervous and that I’m not trying to be rude when I don’t talk much.” Namjoon nodded, telling Nayeon that he would do as such.
It was getting late, and closer to the time when Nayeon and Jungkook needed to go to bed. After having them put out cookies for the man in the red suit, Namjoon sent the two off the sleep. Nayeon especially looked rather exhausted, and nearly crashed into her bed once getting to her room. While she felt slightly better, everything was still rather overwhelming to her, and she still felt slightly guilty for the comment about wanting a female-figure in her life.
Falling asleep that night was difficult. Not because she was excited about Santa coming, but because she was anxious about what was to come.
Namjoon’s mind was spinning as he went through the various Santa traditions that went on while his children were sleeping. He called Yoongi, who was very sympathetic to the whole situation. He ate the cookies, although he was a bit sad to devour one of Nayeon’s gingerbread creations. Eventually, Namjoon pulled out the same notebook he used every year to write a letter to each of his children, from Father Christmas of course.
Namjoon received unequivocal joy from writing these letters. They weren’t anything intricate, but it gave him immense satisfaction to write short little messages to Jungkook and Nayeon, thanking them for their lists and for behaving well this holiday season. It also gave him a chance to practice his Santa handwriting, which was fun in itself. Namjoon never had an interest in calligraphy before he started this tradition, but every year he tried to write the notes in a different style handwriting to his own. Though he usually only had moderate success with that task.
Part of Namjoon wished that he could write a long, personal letter to his daughter, but that wouldn’t be in line with the traditions. The mythological Santa didn’t know about their family situation—that would be much too creepy. So the letters were written as they usually were, placed in envelopes that would be placed atop one of Nayeon’s and Jungkook’s many gifts.
And by many gifts, there were a lot of presents under the tree. Some of them were for Hoseok, Seokjin and their kids (Jimin, Taehyung, and Minyoung), but the vast majority were for Nayeon and Jungkook. While Nayeon had only specified a few things, Namjoon had done a fair amount of holiday shopping on his day off two weeks back and was able to get a bunch of items on sale. That included things for Jungkook as well.
Namjoon really spoiled his kids.
Once all the presents had been placed under the tree, Namjoon went to bed. He was tired and was hosting the next day. That meant cooking, some spot cleaning, and mentally preparing for the awkwardness that would likely ensue when Yoongi arrived. Namjoon had forgotten to tell Hoseok and Seokjin that he was coming, which...well he didn’t forget, but opted not to tell them. A dumb idea? Probably, but it was too late now.
Upon laying down in his bed, Namjoon realized that this was the first year in a while that he hadn’t fallen asleep in some other part of the house on Christmas Eve. Odd. But his neck would surely thank him come morning.
Christmas Day. The time had come. Namjoon’s most favorite day of the year had arrived, and he was eager to start the celebrations.
His children weren’t quite as excited. While Jungkook sprung out of his bed at 9:30, Nayeon didn’t get up until closer to 10, which meant that gift opening didn’t commence until around 10:15. That still left Namjoon plenty of time to set up for the party though, considering Seokjin and Hoseok weren’t coming over until around 3:30.
Sitting down on the floor by the tree, Nayeon and Jungkook waited for the cue that said they could open their presents. Basically, that cue meant Namjoon was done taking his pictures, and that they could commence the gift opening. After they read the short letters, that was. And the two did, Jungkook “reading” his in about five seconds. It was clear that he was more interested in the presents.
Namjoon always had the two take turns, and Jungkook started off the gift opening this year. He took a moderately sized package, opening it to reveal a new pair of headphones he could use while gaming. Jungkook was very excited, for his current pair of headphones weren’t as good as these ones.
Nayeon went next, taking a small-sized package that frankly, could’ve been anything. Most of her gifts were going to be a surprise, considering the list she wrote out was rather short. Tearing off the snowflake wrapping paper, the gift was revealed bit by bit. It was an all-white box at first, but eventually, an image appeared on the front behind the plastic seal.
Nayeon didn’t know whether to be extremely excited or to feel guilty. The price for the popular wireless headphones was a good ₩200,000, not a cheap price whatsoever. With the number of gifts she had received, Nayeon knew that this was an awful expensive Christmas for her father.
But she looked up at her appa to see that he was eagerly awaiting her response. It was a gift after all, and she didn’t explicitly ask for it. Nayeon smiled and said that she liked them very much, making Namjoon beam. That lessened her guilt about the price.
Many more gifts were opened, Jungkook receiving more gaming stuff that he had wanted, along with clothes and books, since those were a given every year. Nayeon received a case for her new Airpods, lots of clothes (considering that was what she had put on her list, lots of clothing items that weren’t overly expensive), books, and best of all, she got makeup. Yes, makeup. While Nayeon already owned a bunch of cosmetics that she bought in secret, it felt nice that she was basically getting silent approval to wear makeup now. She nearly laughed at that thought of her father walking into a cosmetics store, being lost by all the different products that lined the shelves. (In fact, Namjoon had been pretty overwhelmed when he stepped into a large cosmetics store inside the mall, intrigued by the 40% off sale they were having. Thankfully, a nice saleswoman assisted him with finding products, because Namjoon knew zilch about cosmetics. All he knew is that his daughter wasn’t that sneaky when it came to hiding her giant eye shadow palette that was bought when she was out with friends.)
“I love this shade,” remarked Nayeon as she swatched one of the lipsticks onto her wrist. From the corner of her eye, she could see her father watching in awe. Well, maybe it wasn’t awe, but it was clear that this made him emotional. Whether it be that he was happy that his daughter was satisfied with the gift, or that he was sad that his daughter was growing up, Namjoon seemed to be a flurry of emotions. Understandably so—Christmas was an emotional day for Namjoon, in good and bad ways.
Suddenly remembering that she had a gift for her father in her room, Nayeon got up from the floor, making sure to close/cap all of the new makeup items she had received. She returned with a small package, along with a card to go along with it. “From me and Jungkook.”
“Oh Nayeon-ah, you are the sweetest daughter I could ask for.” Nayeon blushed as her appa opened the gift, revealing a small box. Inside was a silver picture frame, with the word “family” engraved on the bottom, in English. The photo was of Namjoon, Jungkook, and Nayeon at Lotte World back in the summer, all smiley in front of the famous carousel that everyone always took pictures by. It was a lovely present, but Nayeon immediately began to worry that her father wouldn’t like it. She thought of the conversation from the previous night and how Namjoon said that his kids always came first, but was Yoongi technically part of their family now as well? He was coming to the Christmas party that night, and it was evident that Namjoon liked having him around.
Nayeon was taken out of her thoughts when her appa began to speak. “This is lovely, Nayeon-ah. Where should we put it?”
“You don’t hate it?”
Namjoon looked appalled. “Why on Earth would I hate something like this? You know just how much I love family pictures. Just look at our Christmas tree.” Sure enough, there were plenty of photo ornaments on the tree, because Namjoon loved hanging up pictures from Christmases past.
“Well...because…” Nayeon hesitated. “What if our family changes?”
Suddenly, it made sense to Namjoon. “Well, we could always update the photo. Or we can keep it the same. But there’s no need to think about that right now, alright?” He paused. “Let’s place it on the dining room table for today, so that everyone can see it.”
Nayeon was hesitant, but her father was insistent. He got up from the couch, placing the small frame on the kitchen table as he said he would do. He then thanked his daughter, giving her a hug and a small kiss on the forehead as he always did. From there, Namjoon began cleaning up the massive amounts of wrapping paper on the floor, indicating that the gift opening was over. Until later, when their Uncles and cousins came over.
Namjoon spent the rest of the day up until 3:30 preparing parts of the meal. Along with bulgogi and japchae (sweet potato noodles), he began preparing numerous side dishes as well. Dessert was done already, for Namjoon opted to just serve cookies and not worry about making a Christmas cake, which was popular with many Korean people.
Nayeon spent a good hour deciding what she was going to wear. She eventually narrowed it down to two choices: a white turtle neck with a red, white and black plaid dress, or the same white turtle neck with a white silk dress that had large black polka dots on it. Yes, it was fake silk, but that didn’t matter. She chose the latter, and part of her really didn’t want to wear the white turtle neck underneath. But the dress had spaghetti straps, meaning that the turtle neck was necessary. From there, she did her makeup, finishing up her look as the doorbell rang.
While Nayeon was a bit slow to the door, Jungkook eagerly raced out of his room to greet Jimin and Taehyung. They were both his sister’s age, but regardless, the three got along well and played Fortnite together much of the time. Nayeon didn’t really talk to her younger cousin Minyoung very much, but she was polite to her regardless.
As Namjoon opened the door, he was greeted by his two friends wearing matching ugly Christmas sweaters. They did this every year, donning whatever cheap ugly sweaters they could find. Except they never wore sweaters with Santa on it, which always made Namjoon a bit sad. Yeah, Seokjin didn’t believe in doing the Santa traditions with his kids, but Namjoon didn’t understand why he couldn’t wear a sweater adorned with the man in the red suit.
Seokjin and Hoseok had never told their kids that Santa was real. From a young age, they told their daughter and two sons that Santa was just a myth and that he was only make-believe. Seokjin felt it was wrong to lie to his kids like that, and Hoseok went along with it, even though he had mixed feelings about not letting their kids believe when they were young. Of course, Seokjin told his children that they need not spoil the secret for their cousins and friends, but they were getting to the age where that wasn’t really necessary anymore. Hell, their cousins must not believe any longer. Twelve-year-olds and ten-year-olds were a bit beyond the Santa stage.
“Maybe one year you could wear something else besides the ₩10,000 ugly sweaters you find at the thrift shop every year.”
Seokjin grinned. “Ahh Namjoon-ah, always jealous aren’t you.”
Namjoon stifled a laugh. Seokjin was a character, that was for sure. They wouldn’t probably be friends if it wasn’t for his personality, which always gave Namjoon immense joy during his long hours of studying in university.
Shoes were taken off, coats were hung up, and soon, everyone was out in the living room. Nayeon felt especially confident with her nice outfit and her makeup, her hair done up as well. She opted for a half-up-half-down style, curling her hair to achieve what she felt was the perfect look. It was the prettiest she felt in a long time, which boosted her confidence even though she was nervous for when her father’s boyfriend arrived.
They always started off the Christmas party opening gifts, each of the cousins receiving gifts while their parents exchanged presents as well. Like most years, Namjoon got his niece and nephews a book and some money, while Seokjin and Hoseok gave their niece and nephew cash, per the usual. Namjoon always liked giving physical gifts, which is why always gave a book along with the money.
Namjoon gave his gift to Seokjin and Hoseok, which was a new rice cooker. For the past few months, Seokjin had been complaining on Facebook that their rice cooker was a piece of shit and that he and Hoseok desperately needed a new one. Hoseok insisted that they didn’t, which was why a replacement had never been bought. Namjoon seized the opportunity and went on the lookout for a high-quality rice cooker that wasn’t at too expensive of a price. Clearly, he chose well, because Seokjin hadn’t been that excited over a gift in years. Their rice cooker must have really been in bad shape.
Then, it was Namjoon’s turn to open his gift from Hoseok and Seokjin. All the kids were still paying slight attention, which equaled Nayeon being on her phone, Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook whispering to one another, and Minyoung playing a game on Hoseok’s phone. But that was alright, because Namjoon didn’t need all the attention on him anyways.
While typically Seokjin and Hoseok only got one gift for Namjoon (as he did for them), this year there were two presents. One was a new stationery set that was definitely not cheap. It was likely close in price to the rice cooker. The other was inside a small envelope and looked to be from some restaurant. And it was. The item was a gift card to a new fancy restaurant that had opened up a few kilometers away, in a trendy part of Seoul. Namjoon had heard of the place and knew that it was an establishment that many couples were going to. Which…
“Let me explain,” began Hoseok, who looked worried that the gift was being interpreted the wrong way. “The two of us went there last week, and the food was spectacular. Seokjin-hyung suggested that we get a gift card for you so that you could try it as well, and...I was hesitant because I don’t want you to take it the wrong way…”
“Hoseok’s worried that we’re suggesting that you should start dating again because we’re giving you a gift card to a place that couples go to. I think he’s overthinking it, but regardless, that’s not what we’re suggesting. The food’s just really delicious.” As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Immediately, everyone looked up, confused as to who might be there. Well, not everyone. Only Seokjin and Hoseok turned around, both of them looking rather confused. Did Namjoon get delivery for dinner this year? And wasn’t it a bit early to have food be delivered?
Awkwardly, Namjoon got up to answer the door. He knew exactly who was there and was immediately regretting the fact that he didn’t tell his friends who was coming. But it was too late now, so Namjoon greeted his boyfriend with a kiss, before bringing him into the living room so that he could properly introduce the man.
And well, the introduction went better than he expected it to. While both Seokjin and Hoseok looked confused at first, it eventually came to them that this was Namjoon’s partner, even though a single word hadn’t been uttered.
“I guess we didn’t have to worry about the gift card after all,” muttered Hoseok quietly to himself. His husband still heard him though.
“See Hoseok, I told you. My intuition was right. I knew my best friend wasn’t single any longer.” Seokjin looked as giddy as a child because he was so excited that his gut feeling had been correct. He fist-bumped Hoseok, who gave his husband a look because the two of them probably looked like idiots to Namjoon’s boyfriend. In fact, Namjoon seemed to be blushing because of their actions.
Namjoon cleared his throat, clearly a bit nervous. “Umm...Seokjin-hyung and Hoseok-hyung, this is Min Yoongi. My...boyfriend.” It felt weird to say that, mainly because Namjoon had kept his relationship fairly private thus far. Only his kids knew, and they weren’t supposed to tell anyone. Nayeon had told some of her friends, but that was it. By telling his best friends that he was dating seriously again for the first time since his divorce eight years prior, Namjoon felt this weird, almost euphoric feeling. It was nice to tell his married friends that he had a partner again.
“We don’t always dress like this,” was Hoseok’s first comment to Yoongi.
“I would dress like this every day,” replied Seokjin. “But my husband won’t let me.”
Hoseok snorted. “Yeah, because you’d look like a fool and be sweating buckets in the summer. And your pit sweat is particularly disgusting. I’ve tasted it.”
Namjoon wanted to crawl into a hole. Only Seokjin and Hoseok would embarrass him like this. It was their talent.
“Well, I think your sweaters are lovely,” said Yoongi during a lull in the banter. “Are those your kids?”
From there on, more introductions were done, more formalities discussed. It turned out that everyone got along just fine, and that Namjoon really had nothing to worry about. Nayeon was definitely nervous and uncomfortable, but she mostly remained low for a while. She did Minyoung’s hair, which sucked up a good chunk of time.
While helping Namjoon to place the food onto the table, Seokjin noticed the small picture frame that Namjoon had set out earlier. It was a cute photo, and he wondered why he had never seen it before. Namjoon posted photos of him and his kids on Facebook all the time. “That’s a nice photo Namjoon-ah.”
Namjoon turned around from stirring something on the stove. “The one on the table? Nayeon-ah gave me that.”
“Ahh, so that’s why I never saw it on Facebook. The kids all use Instagram or whatever it is that’s popular nowadays.” Seokjin paused. “Nayeon-ah, did you take this picture by the carousel?”
Nayeon, who had been taking selfies on her phone, looked up to see that her Uncle was talking to her. “Well, I had someone who was walking by take the photo with my phone. Do you like it?”
“I do, it’s a nice photo. You know, I took a photo with Uncle Hoseok and your cousins in the same exact spot. It’s a funny photo.”
“Why?” asked Nayeon, giggling. Uncle Seokjin always told amusing stories.
“Well, we took the photo after coming off the revolution roller coaster, or whatever it’s called. And because Uncle Hoseok is a wimp, he screamed like a baby on the roller coaster and he still looked horrified whilst we took the photo by the carousel. It’s hilarious.”
Hoseok, who was sitting on the couch, turned around to look at his husband. “I did not scream like a baby on that roller coaster. Plus everyone else was screaming too, including you.”
“I wasn’t screaming ‘sweet-god-mother-of-Jesus get me off this ride’ half the time, and I also kept my eyes open as well.”
“Whatever.” Hoseok rolled his eyes. “Also, I thought you deleted that picture?”
“No, I deleted the one that I took of you when the ride ended. I kept the carousel one. Here, let me find it.” In true old man fashion, it took Seokjin a good five minutes to find the picture, even though it was only from that summer and not that far back in his camera roll. Hoseok ended up helping him find it because Seokjin struggled when it came to anything technology-wise. Besides posting on Facebook—he excelled at that.
Sure enough, the picture was as funny as Seokjin described it to be. He even joked that he was going to find a frame like Nayeon’s to put the picture in, which made Hoseok cringe.
“You should do that,” suggested Nayeon. Because yours would be an accurate photo of your family, she thought, but refrained from saying the last bit. It was time for dinner anyway, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to make such a remark before mealtime, or at any time for that matter.
Christmas dinner was always delicious, Namjoon actually not being that bad of a chef. While he struggled to cook when he was younger, his meals now were a great improvement from the atrocities he made during his university days. Everyone devoured the food, and honestly, it seemed as if no one would have any room for cookies.
The conversation continued on for a while, many adult topics being discussed that bored the kids. But they were still eating, so they remained at the table. Namjoon never made his kids or their cousins sit at a kid table because he didn’t feel that was right. Eventually, though, the conversation lulled, and it was a few moments before Seokjin spoke again. He was usually the one who began conversations.
“So Nayeon-ah, what did your father get you for Christmas this year?”
Seokjin realized a few seconds too late that he should’ve said “Santa” instead of “your father”. Yet he also resisted the urge to smirk, because he could see how Nayeon clearly knew that it was her father who bought her and her brother Christmas gifts every year. Hoseok slapped his hand over his husband’s mouth, while Namjoon looked utterly horrified that his friend had just ruined the Santa myth. Yoongi sat there awkwardly, trying not to laugh because he could see in Nayeon’s face that she very obviously knew that Santa wasn’t real.
Seokjin looked Nayeon right in the eyes, seeming unbothered by the reactions of the others at the table. Nayeon wasn’t sure what to do. Should she correct her Uncle? But why would she correct him when he was right?
Nayeon knew she couldn’t stay silent, so she answered the question. It would’ve been rude if she didn’t. “Well, Uncle Seokjin. I got a few things. I got a pair of Airpods, a bunch of clothes, a pair of earrings, and makeup. Lots of makeup.” She smiled after saying that because she thought of how she absolutely loved all the makeup on her face right now.
Grinning, Seokjin was eager to continue the conversation. “Wow, I can’t believe your appa stepped into a cosmetics store. The last time he did that was…” Seokjin stopped himself from continuing with this story because he knew when the last time was. And he wasn’t going to bring up Namjoon’s ex-wife at Christmas dinner. “A long time ago. Let’s just say that.”
As overwhelmed as she was feeling at this moment, Nayeon was very intrigued by this story. “How long ago?”
“I’ll tell you later. Now Jungkook, what did you get for Christmas?” Seokjin’s abrupt ending to the story and his rewording of the question when asking Jungkook made the conversation feel incredibly awkward once more. Nayeon took this as a cue to leave. She could come out for the cookies a bit later.
A bit later turned out to be a while later. Popping in her Airpods and conveniently forgetting that there was a party going on outside her bedroom door, Nayeon proceeded to go on her phone for the rest of the evening, just as she had been doing before. Clearly, no one seemed to miss her presence that much, because they didn’t come and get her. Then again, she heard Jungkook, Jimin, and Taehyung cram into the bedroom next door, likely playing Fortnite the rest of the evening. That left Minyoung, who seemed to follow her brothers into Jungkook’s room. Probably to play on an iPad or something like that.
Seokjin did indeed tell his niece the story he had cut off from earlier. Basically, he told her that her father had bought makeup for her mother a long time ago, and didn’t go into much detail from there. Also, it took him like 20 minutes to text the second part of the message, because Seokjin texted like an old man. Now Nayeon understood why he didn’t finish the story at the dinner table. That would’ve made the situation even more uncomfortable and awkward, and wouldn’t have been appropriate either.
Nayeon eventually got bored and ended up taking a short nap. Probably induced from all the food she had eaten. Some 45 minutes later, she was woken up by knocking on her door.
“Nayeon-ah?” It was her father. Nayeon looked at her phone and noticed it was past 9PM now. Was anyone still here? She figured that Uncle Seokjin and Uncle Hoseok were gone by this point.
“Mmmmm,” considering she was still half asleep, Nayeon didn’t have much of a response. Her door was locked, which meant that Namjoon couldn’t open it from the outside. It took a few moments for Nayeon to get out of bed, and she immediately noticed that her lipstick was all messed up. And that her pillow was also stained. Fuck.
Nayeon opened her door. Namjoon looked at his daughter, slightly confused. “Were you napping?”
“Yeah. I was tired.”
“Well, if you could, can you come out for a bit? Uncle Seokjin, Uncle Hoseok, and your cousins left. They said goodbye and wished you a Merry Christmas once again.”
“But appa,” retorted Nayeon. “My makeup looks disgusting. And I stained my pillow with lipstick.”
Namjoon sighed. “Worry about your pillow later. And take off your makeup, for now. You still look pretty without it.” While Nayeon didn’t feel that way, she had no choice but to comply. She shut her door once again, grabbing a makeup remover wipe from the pack on her nightstand. She purposely took her time, not wanting to come out right away. She knew what was awaiting her. It wasn’t bad, but hell, she was nervous regardless.
Outside in the living room sat Jungkook, who was playing some game on his iPad. Then there was Yoongi, who sat on the couch with three gift bags on the coffee table in front of him. There was also a neatly wrapped box, which was Namjoon’s gift to Yoongi. Namjoon emerged from talking with his daughter, taking a seat next to his boyfriend.
“She’ll be out in a few minutes. Just taking off her makeup.” To be fair, Namjoon wasn’t used to girly things such as makeup. It had been a long time since he had been around women, though his daughter was far from being a grown lady. She was only a teenager, and technically not even that for a few months more.
A few minutes later, Nayeon emerged from her bedroom. She was unamused to find Jungkook sitting in the chair, meaning that she would have to sit on the couch. Next to Yoongi, because that was the only space left. Instead, she sat on the floor, which was not easy considering her dress didn’t exactly permit her to sit cross-legged.
“Come, sit on the couch. You’ll tear your dress sitting like that.”
“And what do you know about dresses?” retorted Nayeon with a clear sound of discontent in her voice. Her father was just trying to be nice, but Nayeon really wasn’t having it. The nerves in her system were making her act in a way that wasn’t quite normal.
“More than you think,” replied Namjoon, who proceeded to get off the couch and pull Nayeon up from the floor. She moved begrudgingly, only sitting down when her father sat between his boyfriend and daughter. While Yoongi was watching this whole ordeal, Jungkook remained oblivious, very involved in some game on his iPad.
Getting Jungkook’s attention, Namjoon called him over so they could start the gift opening. Very eagerly, Namjoon’s son tore into his gift bag, excited when he saw it was a new video game. He thanked Yoongi, before running off into his room so he could play it. Namjoon was too tired to tell him he should stay for the rest of the gifts, so he just let the youngest runoff.
Nayeon insisted on going last, so Namjoon opened his gift from Yoongi next. It was a new set of kitchen towels. While Nayeon thought that was an incredibly boring gift, she then remembered that their current kitchen towels were extremely old and that a new set was much appreciated. What was not appreciated, was the PDA that went on afterward. Moving to the chair that Jungkook vacated, Nayeon proceeded to go on her phone to not have to witness...that.
Anyways, it was eventually her turn to open the gift. Putting on a smile, Nayeon took out the tissue paper, revealing what looked to be a jewelry box. In fact, it was from a store that she often frequented with her friends, but they never bought much from because the jewelry could be quite expensive for their teenage budgets. When she opened the box, Nayeon revealed a necklace inside. It had a thin gold chain, along with an emerald green four-leaf clover charm. Nayeon couldn’t believe her eyes. She saw this necklace some weeks back and wanted it badly, but hadn’t mentioned that to anyone but her friends.
The smile Nayeon had on her face now was genuine, because she was absolutely entranced with the necklace. She did feel bad about the cost of the necklace, but maybe Yoongi was rich or something. Probably not though—she doubted that her father was a gold digger.
“Thank you Yoongi-ssi. I really like it.” Nayeon did her best to make eye-contact, though she still found herself quite nervous. But she could see how both her father and her father’s boyfriend looked immensely happy, whether it be because of her, or because they were together.
“You’re welcome Nayeon-ah. I think it’ll look lovely on you.” Nayeon blushed, before retreating back to her room. She could tell that her father wanted to spend some time with Yoongi now, alone, just the two of them. She’d come out after Yoongi left, to get some cookies. She hadn’t gotten any earlier.
Yoongi left soon after the kids and Namjoon had opened his gifts. He was going to see Namjoon on the weekend anyway, as Namjoon had arranged to have Jungkook sleepover with his cousins. Nayeon would sleepover with her friends since she had been practically begging to do so for the past few weeks.
Nayeon did indeed go back out to have a few cookies because she wasn’t about to have Christmas end without eating some. There were plenty left, considering they typically made enough cookies to feed an army. Grabbing a few sugar cookies on putting them on a plate, Nayeon sat down at the table, alone for the moment.
But a few minutes later, Namjoon emerged from wherever he had been (Nayeon had no idea). He started to tidy up the household, there being things to vacuum and paper plates to throw out. As he did this task, Namjoon wanted to ask Nayeon one question. He didn’t know how to word it, but he figured his daughter could interpret what he was trying to say.
“How long have you known?”
Taken out of her Instagram-scrolling-stupor, Nayeon turned around to see her father looking right at her. She was in pajamas now, no longer wanting to wear the dress she had been sporting for most of the day. While his question was vague, Nayeon knew what he was asking about. The man in the red suit.
“Last year. I think getting my period was pretty symbolic of the moment that I realized. And then a few days later I told Jungkook-ah, who told me that he had known for a while as well.” She paused. “But we kept it up this year because it makes you happy, appa.”
Namjoon felt like he was going to cry. Not sad tears, but happy ones. He had been waiting for the dreaded day that his kids would come up to him and said that they didn’t believe anymore, but instead, they were going to fake the belief to make their father happy.
Putting down the dustpan to give his daughter a hug, Namjoon felt a sense of peace envelop him. Was it the magic of Christmas? He’d never know. But what he did know was that while many things in their lives were changing, the love and joy expressed in their family would remain the same. Santa Claus was no match for that.