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I read this short story maybe about 5-7 years ago, possibly longer. I'm fairly certain it was part of an anthology. It stuck in my mind because I haven't run across that many Christmas horror stories.

A woman and her family go to pick out a Christmas tree. They go to the same place every year, ‘Emporium’ is possibly in the name of the place. I think she was wearing a red pantsuit. The woman doesn’t like the owner; I don’t remember if he acted strangely around her, or it was the way he looked at her, but he made her uncomfortable.

While her family is looking over the trees out in the lot, she enters the shop and finds herself going into the private area at the back. She sees a morbidly obese woman lying on a pile of carpets or blankets, then her next view is watching herself walk away to rejoin her family, while she remains behind. The owner’s sister has taken over her body, leaving the wife trapped in the sister’s body.

As she walks to greet the husband, the sister is thinking ‘Here at last is the proud silly spirit you wanted, brother’ or similar words. The trapped wife is left behind as they leave. I vaguely remember something about disgust and fear as the brother starts touching her, and she is thinking ‘A whole year I must wait,’ but then thinks maybe they won’t come back, maybe the sister will talk them into going somewhere else next year and the wife will remain trapped.

I would be thrilled with any help for this, Google has failed me so far.

10

The Wild Wood by Mildred Clingerman

Every year Margaret ends up having to go to Cravolini's to buy a Christmas tree. The owner creeps her out and she always gets separated from Don and kids. Cravolini is always right there foisting his unwanted attention on her.

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. , January 1957 Fantasy and Science Fiction

  • Took me a while to find an online version but I can confirm 'The Wild Wood' is the story I've been looking for. Thank you very much @Ayshe! – aprilr Apr 14 at 2:29

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