Short Stories 366:316 — “It Happened One Yule,” by Celestine Martin

Okay, so this story, the second from Love All Year: A Holidays Anthology, was everything I wanted. A bit of contemporary-with-a-healthy-dash-of-magic, we meet a witch, Tilda, getting ready for the family Yule event who is, well, dreading it. This is not how you’re supposed to feel about Yule, but when your successful, famous ex is going to be there, it’s a lot to handle alone. When you’ve been pining away for your handyman in what you’re sure is a one-sided fantasy, it’s even worse. So, what’s a witch to do? Whip up some magical oil, get her scent on, and attract someone. Even just for a night.

When she bumps into said handyman in the bar, and he reacts to how lovely she smells, Tilda is in a quandary. The man seems to be enjoying her magical scent, but that’s not great because it’s exactly that: a magical scent. It’s supposed to find someone for her to have a good time with, and though she’s dreamed about having said time with Duncan, this is so not how she wants to have it play out. Especially given how the spell will break if they do, y’know, play it out. When he finds out about the Yule party and offers to come along as backup, she’s not sure if it’s him being friendly or the oil, but she accepts and oops, there’s only one bed.

This is basically the magical Yule holiday movie I wished there was. Plus sized Black woman witch, her wonderful family, her not-an-asshole-but-still-kinda-jerkish-Ex, and the good guy dude handyman who absolutely has feelings for her, but needed a little bit of a magical push to believe it’s worth finding out if she feels the same way. Someone option this, please. I’m begging.

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