Decorated With Love

by Carole

Main Characters: Vin, Chris, Buck, JD

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, and the Mirisch Corporation.

Vin hadn't thought about how his actions would affect his family. He'd just acted. He looked around at them, unsure if his great idea had been so great.


The seven-year-old had gone to bed early, exhausted from the holiday festivities he’d enjoyed at school that day. He’d slept like a rock for most of the night, and then, just before dawn, he had awakened.

Just tossing and turning at first, unable to go back to sleep, he’d started thinking about all of the decorations he and JD had brought home from school the day before. And how much fun it would be to surprise his family when they got up that morning.

Before he knew it, he was out of bed, retrieving a large brown paper bag, and tiptoeing into the family room. Moving stealthily, he studied the room. The tree in the corner was perfect, with its colored lights, tinsel, and assorted ornaments, but there was nothing on the walls, or hanging from the windows and doors.

He smiled. There was enough stuff inside the bag to decorate the whole room.

Reaching into the bag, Vin studied the two paper chains he’d pulled out, trying to decide which one to put above the doorframe. He wanted to pick the right one, because that would be the very first decoration everyone would see. The green and red one he had made in art class was longer, but… He nodded. Since JD was so proud of the rainbow links he’d created, that was the one he’d use. His own paper chain could be placed along the curtain rods.

It only took a few seconds to position the chains on top of the doorframe, anchoring each side with a piece of tape, and then he was moving to the window, setting his own chain in place.

The next item Vin pulled out of the paper bag was a wreath. While his teacher had provided a multitude of color choices, Vin had used green paper, tracing and cutting out his handprints more times than he could count. And then, after gluing them on a donut-shaped piece of cardboard, he’d added red sequin “berries.” It didn’t look anything like the decorated wreath that hung on the front door, but Vin liked it, and he paused to measure his fingers against the cut-out shapes before taping the wreath to the wall next to the television.

JD’s Rudolph was next, its head fashioned from a cut-out tracing of the five-year-old’s shoe, and antlers made from JD’s handprints. For a second Vin placed his hand on top of JD’s print, smiling a bit when his hand was larger than his brother’s, then he secured Rudolph to the wall behind the couch.

He kept working. Paper candy cane shapes, painted with a mixture of red paint and peppermint extract, were first smelled, and then propped up against the lamp beside the sofa. Loops of yarn were added to glittery stars and then hung from doorknobs. Clay snowmen sporting black hats and stick arms were lined up on top of the television, and toilet paper roll “candles” found a home on top of the coffee table.

Down to the bottom of the bag, Vin removed several cotton-ball-adorned Santa’s and began to place them against the sofa cushions.

“Vin, what in the world…”

Vin whirled around, the last Santa dropping from his hand to the floor.

In the doorway stood Chris, blinking against the light and rubbing his face with both hands. Behind him was Buck, JD in his arms. Vin’s little lip started to tremble. He’d tried to be quiet, he really had, but he hadn’t been quiet enough, and now everyone was awake.

“Vin, you put up our dec’rations!” JD squealed, looking around the room.


Chris and Buck were both looking at him, but instead of the frowns and disapproving looks he'd expected, he found nothing but smiles. And when Chris knelt on the floor and opened his arms wide in invitation, he flew across the room, and found himself wrapped in his dad’s loving embrace.

“I’m sorry I woke you up,” Vin said, leaning against Chris’s chest. He felt so awful that he repeated his words, aiming them this time at Buck and JD. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

“It’s okay, Junior.”

“It’s okay, Vin,” Chris echoed. “We would have been getting up soon anyway. But how come you didn’t wait ‘til morning? We would have been happy to help you.”

“I know.” Vin raised his head to look at his dad. He wanted his dad to understand. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it when Chris helped him – he loved to do stuff with his dad – but this time, it was supposed to be a surprise.


“I wanted to surprise you.”

“Well, you did!” Buck laughed. “And you did a fine job of decorating, too.”

At Buck’s words, Vin began to relax, and the funny feeling in his stomach started to go away.

“You sure did,” Chris agreed, casting his gaze over the room. “I think it looks great.”

Vin started to smile. They weren’t mad at him. And Chris liked his decorations.

“Buck, that’s my Rudolph!” JD exclaimed excitedly. “I made it with my foot. And that’s my chain, and my star, and my candy cane, only it ain’t real candy, and my snowman, and my Santa.” He pointed to each item in turn.

“It sure is,” Buck agreed, nodding his approval of each object.

“And those are Vin’s.” JD continued to gesture around the room, this time indicating which of the decorations belonged to the other boy.

“You made all those?” Chris asked, releasing Vin and getting to his feet to take a closer look at all of the decorations.

Vin nodded. He’d spent a lot of time working on those art projects, even when he could have been outside playing on the playground.

“You did a great job.”

Vin’s smile grew wider at Chris’s praise, and he ducked his head for a moment before looking back at his dad.

“You guys ready for breakfast?” Buck asked. “I was plannin’ on making pancakes.”

“Yay!” JD exclaimed, wiggling to get out of Buck’s grasp. “Pancakes!”

“Chris? Vin?”

“Yay!” Vin agreed. He couldn’t help but laugh when Chris echoed him.

Vin started forward, his dad at his side, then stopped, remembering the fallen Santa. He picked it up and carefully set it with the others.

“You ready?”

Vin took one last look around the room, reveling in the knowledge that he had not only surprised them, but that they all liked the way he had decorated the room. With a mixture of happiness and pride on his face, Vin took his dad’s offered hand. And, following in Buck and JD’s wake, they headed for the kitchen together.