When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. It was the best. I'd spend hours curled up in the corner behind the tree, reading holiday stories and watching the lights and shadows thrown on the ceiling by the strings of colored bulbs.

Then I grew up.

I moved to New York and I got a little tough. I started trying to make a place for myself in a demanding career, and I got a little tougher.

By the time I was thirty, Christmas was a chore. All the shopping, the cards, the parties, the decorating were just obligations. I'd forgotten all about the magic and the fun.

I have to admit I was a Ms. Scrooge.

Then something happened that changed all that. I got a good old-fashioned bare-bottom spanking. My first ever.

This is the story of that spanking and of the man who gave it to me. So listen hard all you Scroogettes out there, and you might learn the lesson of the spirit of Christmas a little less painfully than I did.

I was standing in an endlessly long line, silently cursing and making a mental list of all the reasons I hated Christmas when I saw him. The man in the red Santa suit. He smiled at me, and his eyes crinkled merrily. He gave me a "Ho, ho, ho" as he passed and playfully asked if I'd been naughty or nice this year.

My feet hurt, I was hungry, it was only two days before Christmas and I'd only bought three presents. Nice smile or not, the guy got on my nerves.

So I let him have it. I went off. I told him Christmas was a commercial plot. That the presents were bribes to keep old clients or get new ones. That I wished I could somehow just hibernate from mid-November until January second.

Santa just listened, hands on his hips, the twinkle slowly fading from his blue eyes, his playful smile disappearing. When I finally finished, he shook his head in disappointment. "Meggie," he said, "you used to love Christmas. I want you to meet me in the center of the mall, where I talk to the kids, at closing time. I think I can help you."

"The only way you can help me, Santa," I sarcastically replied, "is if you can manage to make Christmas disappear. And how did you know my name?"

"What a silly question." His grin returned. "I'm Santa, and everyone knows Santa knows everything. Including exactly what you need to turn back into the warm, generous Meggie who loved Christmas more than anything. Closing time is in forty-five minutes. I'll be waiting." He reached out and tweaked my cheek just as the clerk called "next". I moved up and when I'd paid for my purchases, "Santa" was gone.

He can wait until next Christmas, I told myself. I can't take another minute in this madhouse.

But things kept happening. A little kid got lost and I had to help him find his mother--even I wasn't evil enough to let him fend for himself. I dropped a bag and had to scramble over the floor to pick up the gifts I'd grudging bought. I broke the heel off one of my shoes.

All these events conspired to bring me walking by Santa's home away from home exactly at the time he'd requested. Of course, he thought I'd just placidly followed his instructions. Hardly. I wanted to be home, soaking in a hot bath. I saw the big man out of the corner of my eye, but kept on walking.

"Right on time, Meggie. I thought there was at least a little of the good girl left in you. You won't be sorry." Before I could say a word Santa had taken me by the arm and was firmly leading me toward the massive throne where the kids came to sit on his lap and tell him their secrets.

"Wait just a minute, Santa baby. I'm not here to see you. I'm going to pick up a salad and go straight home."

"Now, Meggie, no one says no to Santa. You know that." He kept towing me along behind him.

"I hate to burst your bubble. But you're not Santa. Santa's a chubby old guy with real whiskers. Not that cotton beard and pillow padding you've got. What am I saying? I mean you're not Santa because there is no Santa. Let me go now, or I'm going to start yelling for Security."

"Ho, ho, ho," he boomed. "Everyone knows Santa would never hurt anyone." We reached the throne and he sat down, legs spread wide apart. He put his hands on my waist and held me in front of him. I tried to twist away, but his big hands held me tight.

"Now, Meggie, most little girls sit on my lap. But somehow I don't think that would suit you."

"You've got that right," I snapped, giving an extra hard jerk, hoping to get away. But Santa had muscles under all that padding.

"No," Santa said, his blue eyes boring into me, "I think what you need is a trip over my knee, not on it." Before I could protest, he'd lifted me up, slung me over one of his knees, and thrown his other leg over both of mine. I was trapped. Trapped with my bottom perfectly positioned for one thing--and I didn't have to be a genius to know what it was. The words "over my knee" screamed through my mind and I began to really fight. I kicked and yelled, and even tried to bite and scratch. But in moments, Santa had both my hands pinned over my head.

"You really are naughty, aren't you?" he asked, and I thought I heard a trace of amusement in his tone. Then to my humiliation I heard a little girl ask "What are you doing with that lady, Santa?"

"I'm getting ready to give her a spanking," he told her. "I'm afraid she's been awfully bad. And you know what I bring to bad little girls, don't you?"

"A bundle of switches," the little girl said solemnly.

"That's right. But I know you've been very good, sweetheart. You go on home now, so I can take care of Meggie."

I heard little feet running away, then all was silent.

"Okay, Meggie, let's get to it. A good spanking and I think your attitude will be much improved. And just in time to really enjoy the holidays."

I gave another half-hearted kick, but knew it was hopeless. It'd just have to guts it out. Then I'd get the baboon fired.

I felt one of Santa's big hands on my bottom and I couldn't stop from flinching a little. He gave a chuckle and then gave my fanny a pat.

This is going to be nothing, I thought, relief coursing through my body. Then I felt Santa slowly sliding my skirt up the backs of my legs until it was bunched at my waist.

"You can't be serious," I yelled.

"I'm very serious, Meggie." And his hand came down with a sharp smack right in the center of my bottom. I was quickly convinced he was telling the truth. His hand came down again and again, hitting all sections of my derriere. In minutes it felt like it was on fire. I had to bite my lip to keep from begging him to stop. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction.

Then it got worse. I felt him toying with the waistband of my silk panties and I started to squirm. He gave me the hardest spank yet and yanked the panties down.

"You can't spank my bare bottom. Who do you think you are anyway? some asshole who makes minimum wage--"

My tirade was stopped by a flurry of spanks, one right after the next. They left me gasping and fighting back tears.

When he paused, I tried to stay as still and quiet as possible. I didn't want to show the man how effective his discipline was.

"Meggie, something tells me you've never had a spanking before. Can that be true, a woman your age?"

I just nodded my head. He placed his big, warm hand on my bottom and began rubbing it with slow circles. "I think there are a few rules you need to know. When you're over a man's knee--especially when he's Santa Claus--" I heard that touch of amusement again, but held my tongue. I'd never admit it, but the sensation of his hand gently running over my sore bottom felt wonderful. I didn't want to do anything to get him started with the painful stuff again.

"When you're over a man's knee," he repeated, "you are not in control. The word 'can't' isn't even a part of your vocabulary." Crack! His hand came down on the tender spot where my bottom curved into the backs of my thighs. "Do you understand?" The hand came down again in exactly the same spot.

"Yes!" I gasped.

"Yes, sir," he said sternly with another burning spank.

"Yes, sir," I repeated.

"Very good." He gave my bottom a few more rubs. "Now stand up for me."

Unthinkingly, I obeyed.

"Now, Meggie, I want you to come around to the side of this throne. Bend over the arm and rest your forehead on the seat." He stood up and guided me into the position, then he smoothed my hair away from my flushed face. "I know this is hard, Meggie. And I know it hurts. But it's for your own good."

I squeezed my eyes closed, all thoughts of getting this man fired gone. My only thoughts were to do as he said as well as possible.

I heard Santa rummaging though a bag behind me.

"Did you hear what that good little girl who came by said naughty girls got for Christmas?"

I nodded. Santa moved up behind me, and he began caressing my reddened skin. "What? Tell me."

"A bundle of switches, sir?"

"And have you been a naughty girl?"

I wanted to say no. That not enjoying Christmas wasn't a crime. But I found myself giving him the answer he wanted. "Yes, sir."

"I think ten switches should be enough. One for every year you saw Christmas as just another item to be checked off your list of things to do. Does that sound fair?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good girl. Now you count for me."

I heard a whistling sound and the keen sting of a switch against my bare buttocks.

"One."

I felt the switch tickling my bottom, running lightly down the crack between my cheeks. "One what?"

"One, sir," I quickly answered.

The blows came unrelentingly. At number five, I couldn't stop the tears from running down my face.

"We're halfway there, Meggie. For the last five, instead of counting why don't you tell me something you like about Christmas."

The switch cracked down. "I can't think of anything. All I can think about is how much it hurts."

"I'll help you," Santa said, and he gently smoothed his hands over the little welts on my bottom. "How about that song where the dogs bark out Jingle Bells?"

"Yes, Santa Sir."

"Good girl." The switch whistled down again.

"Christmas tree lights flashing on the ceiling," I managed to get out between my sobs. "Sir," I added, hoping it was fast enough.

"Very good."

The switch just tapped by left cheek and I almost giggled, shocking myself. "Helping my mother make Christmas cookies." Another light tap. "Snow angels." And the last one, just a reminder of the other nine. "Santa Claus."

With that, Santa scooped me up in his arms and then sat back on his throne. I buried my face in the warm velvet of his suit and let him hold me.

"And what would you like for Christmas this year," he finally asked.

When I didn't answer, he tilted my chin up. "How about this?" He lowered his face and kissed me, his lips firm and warm, the soft cotton of his phony beard brushing my chin. "Yes," I said. "More kisses. But first I need a Christmas tree with lots of lights. And you are going to help me carry it, aren't you, Santy Claus?"

"Ho, ho, ho. That's my Meggie." He pulled off his beard and red hat, and I liked the face I saw. It was kind, with a few laugh lines around the eyes. And I thought, well maybe I did need a spanking. Especially if this is what I get when it's through.

Santa took my hand and then he kissed it. "I knew you couldn't really be the kind of woman who hates Christmas. Then he kissed me again and whispered, "Let's get some mistletoe to go with that tree."

"And some eggnog."

"And some milk and cookies."

"And tinsel."

And as we left hand in hand we looked at each other and yelled, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night."

So that's the story of my first spanking and how I came to love Christmas as much as I did when I was a girl. If you don't want to find a bundle of switches in you stocking some day, be sure and take a little time to experience the joys of the season.

Although, if you're like me, one of those joys is being just naughty enough to earn a trip over Santa's knee every year for a nice warm holiday spanking. If that's your pleasure too, I hope you get it.