Hello I gave it a read and jotted down a few quick notes.
-I love the atmosphere—charming, anticipatory, vivid. It’s nice that you’ve taken us back in time while retaining the timeless spirit of the holidays.
-Story is well-paced. You’ve given us just the right amount of information for a short story of this length.
-I like how we don’t know if it’s going to be a happy ending or a sad ending until Roy tells her he’s got a big package. So many war stories end with a wife/fiancée receiving bad news in the mail, so it’s clever of you to evoke that anxiety with Herbert being “delivered” by the post. (I blurred that last bit as not to spoil the end for any future readers.)
Some phrasing I found awkward:
-“they’d hit it off almost immediate” (you probably meant “immediately”)
-“struck up correspondence”
-“scared of dying though, but instead, he was…”
-“at least now that the War was over, he should’ve been safe now”
-“when it was in the negative”
-“content smile” and “pretty content with himself” in same paragraph feels repetitive
-“it was another man, standing next to Roy, that did”
-“adorned in an olive-green uniform” (“adorn” feels like wrong word)
-“festive beacons of light”
Thoughts on style:
-Go easy on the adverbs. I’d go through and cull a bunch of them if I were you.
-Do away with excess empty phrases like “to be exact,” “in fact,” “however,” etc.
-Some words (war, brass) seem to be capitalized unnecessarily
-Some clunky passive voice
-“Out of site” should be “out of sight”
-Simplify language wherever you can. This will improve professionalism and flow, in my opinion
My last advice is always this: read everything you write aloud! It helps you catch any grammar errors, and if the language is awkward/unnatural, you will hear it. Can’t recommend this enough.
Thank you for sharing your story I hope some of what I’ve written is helpful to you. If it is, I’d be so grateful if you’d check out one of my short stories in return. On my Wattpad profile (MagdaThenAndNow), I have a collection called Bagatelles. There are two short stories published there that you could check out if you’d like