Merry Christmas Santas
The Christmas I was seven years old will be a cherished memory forever. That was the year I received my "tall-as-me" walking doll. And that was the year I learned the meaning of Christmas went far beyond Santa Claus, carols and turkey dinner.
That Christmas Eve I was startled awake by a loud noise coming from downstairs. My clock said 11:15 and I sat up with a start! I was so excited! Santa must be downstairs filling our stockings at that very moment. My heart went wild at the thought.
I had to see him! It was as though a magnetic pull was drawing me towards the living room. As quietly as I could, I sneaked downstairs. I was sure Santa would hear my heartbeat and I held my breath in an attempt to make it stop. My mother had told me once that if Santa ever saw me peeking at him he would take all the presents back up the chimney and not come back. But the magnet kept pulling at me. I knew that I had to be careful, and that added to the wonder and excitement of it all.
As I rounded the curve of the stairs and crouched low to peek through the bannister without being seen, I heard a giggled "Shhhh - you'll wake her."
"Just my parents," I thought in disappointment. As I turned to go back to bed my mother added, "If she finds out the truth about Santa it will really ruin Christmas."
Confused, but intrigued, I returned to my spying place to listen. What truth? Had something happened to Santa?
I strained to get a better look at what my parents were doing. The fire was blazing in the hearth and I thought they had better put it out soon so Santa could come. Mom was humming along to the Christmas carols playing on the radio as she adjusted the decorations on the tree. At her feet our cats batted absently at the dangling tinsel. Dad was bringing bags of things up from the basement, going up and down the stairs repeatedly, util the floor seemed to disappear.
Then Mom took down the stockings.
In shock, I watched her fill them with things from the bags on the floor. I couldn't believe my eyes! I blinked and looked again. I even pinched myself but nothing changed. The "truth" about Santa overcame me like a tidal wave, and I wanted to scream "No! Let Santa do that!" in the hope I was mistaken. I opened my mouth to do just that but no sound came out.
"This is probably the last year for all this secrecy," Dad said as he shoed the cats away and place presents carefully under the tree. "She'll have it all figured out by next year."
Mom paused for a moment, holding my stocking and some doll clothes in mid-air. "Maybe," she said. "All the more reason to make the most of this year."
I couldn't believe my ears. They had been lying to me all my life - and enjoying it! I was furious.
"I guess you're right," Dad said. "There's nothing like that look on her face Christmas morning when she sees what Santa left. It makes it all worthwhile."
Mom smiled - a warm, wonderful smile. "If only we could all believe in the generous world of Santa Claus."
I was confused. They were doing all this for me? It seemed to make them happy, this lie. But they had always told me lying was wrong.
The presents, and the cats, were all under the tree and the stockings, stuffed to the brim, were back on the mantle. My parents sat before the fire and munched on the cookies I had left for Santa. Mom and I had spent all day baking and decorating them. I felt like yelling "Those aren't for you!" but I kept quiet and listened some more.
"The past few Christmases have been the best I can remember," Mom said. She sounded so content and happy that my heart softened despite myself. I wanted to hate them, but it was becoming more and more difficult to do so.
Dad nodded. "I never thought I'd enjoy it more than I did when I believed in Santa, but making it special for her just feels so good."
"Do you think she'll like the doll?" Mom asked, pointing to the huge box beside the tree.
Dad laughed as he pulled a cat off the red and green parcel. "She'd better - it cost enough. When the bills come in, I'm really going to wish there were a Santa."
They laughed and cuddled together, gazing into the fire as the cats curled up in their laps. I sat thinking about what they had said. They had done everything for me. All of the work and expense was to make me happy. And making me happy obviously made them happy. I took one last look at them snuggled quietly before the fire and, resisting an urge to join them , headed back upstairs.
Thoughts were churning in my head as I returned tomy room. Christmas wasn't about getting presents at all. It was about giving and making the ones you love happy. My anger subsided and a warm, comfortable feeling grew in it's place. As I drifted off to sleep I knew what the best present I could give my parents was. And before my eyes were closed, I knew what I would do the next morning.
Christmas morning dawned beautifully. Thick flakes of fluffy snow were floating to the ground outside, just as it should be on Christmas morning. The view out my window was Christmas card perfect. I rushed downstairs, still excited despite my new found knowledge, and looked at the beautiful tree and the cats among the lovingly placed gifts. I read the note from Santa thanking me for the cookies - for the first time recognising Dad's handwriting on it - and smiled at my parents' thoughtfulness. Then I took the note and ran to my parents' room.
"Mom! Dad!" I yelled, waking them as I barged through their door. "Santa made the most beautiful Christmas ever! And look at the letter he left me! Hurry! Let's open presents!"
And the looks on their faces of joy and satisfaction at my happiness was the best present I have ever received. Even better than my "tall-as-me" walking doll.
"Merry Christmas Santas," I whispered as we all went downstairs.
Click on the lights to celebrate Christmas Star Trek Style!
Click the twirling Santa for Christmas Canadian Style!
This snow globe was a gift from my on line sis Kathy H!
Thank you Maya for this great award! Click on it to visit her site.
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