Today, I am giving you a short story I wrote last Christmas Eve for my grandchildren. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.
Many years ago, in a small town far away, there lived a small boy called Jonathan. For the first six years of his life, he had dreamed that at least on one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus would come to his home and leave a toy for him under the tree.
Calling that plastic one-metre-high tree a Christmas tree is akin to calling a telephone pole a forest. But since he was a fatherless boy and his mother only had one leg (she lost the other in the same car accident when her husband was killed) she was a welfare recipient and for this reason, she could only afford the small tree with some trinkets and it was for the boy’s sake that she put it up each Christmas.
Two days before Christmas, she and her son went to the city to visit a friend and while they were there, her friend said that she was going to take her daughter to visit Santa at a large department store and suggested that perhaps Jonathan might like to see him also.
As they walked towards the department store, Jonathan’s mother wasn’t too happy with going there considering the burden she would face if her son asked Santa for something that was beyond her means to obtain. Nevertheless, she finally agreed, especially when she saw tears in her son’s eyes when he thought she would say no.
They arrived at the store ten minutes before it was to close and when they got to Santa’s Village in the middle of the store, they saw Santa waving goodbye to the last child who had just talked with him. As he was standing up and stretching his arms, he saw the two children on the winding path leading to his chair.
He immediately sat down and said in a loud voice, “HO, HO, HO! And which of these two beautiful children am I going to see first?”
Jonathan always remembered what his mother told him about ladies first so he motioned to the young girl to go ahead of him. When she and Santa concluded their talk together, he waved goodbye to her and then motioned Jonathan to come to him. Jonathan was very nervous because he had never seen Santa before and didn’t know what to say to him.
“Sit on my lap and tell me what your name is, my boy”
Jonathan was extremely nervous and excited at the same time. He was nervous because he was convinced that Santa didn’t bring him toys because Santa thought he was bad. Despite that, he was also excited because he thought that maybe Santa would give him another chance. He whispered his name.
Santa asked, “And Jonathan, what would you like for Christmas?” Jonathan looked Santa right in his eyes and said, “You never brought me anything before so I don’t expect you to bring me anything this Christmas either.”
The old man looked at the young boy and tears began to form in his eyes. Then he said with a feigned surprised look on his face, “You mean to tell me that I have never visited your house at all?”
“Never!” exclaimed the boy. “I guess it’s because I am bad.” Santa smiled at the boy and said, “My boy. I could tell right away when I saw you that you are a good boy. I saw how you let the little girl go ahead of you. That is the act of a considerate boy and a considerate boy is one who is also a good boy.”
“Then why haven’t you visited my home on Christmas Eve and left me a toy?”
The old man knew right away why the boy didn’t get a toy at Christmas time. He could tell from the way that his mother was dressed that she was in dire financial means and since the boy’s father wasn’t with them, he assumed that she was probably caring for her son on her own.
Santa motioned one of his assistants to approach him and then he whispered, “Ask the boy’s mother to give you her address.” Then he turned to the boy on his lap and after stroking his hair, he said, “I will visit you tomorrow night and leave you a toy. Now you tell me what you would like me to bring you?”
The boy smiled and whispered what he would really like for Christmas. The old man was startled, “You mean that’s all you want?”
The boy cried out, “Yes, that is all I want. Please….”
Santa interjected, “Then you will get your wish.”
While the boy was leaving the old man in the chair, his mother asked him, “What did you ask Santa to bring you?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“But you have to tell me, Jonathan.”
Jonathan looked up at his mother and said, “Santa said that I wasn’t to tell anyone.”
As she led her son out of the store in the company of her friend and her friend’s daughter, she wondered just why the old man told her son not to tell anyone what he wanted for Christmas.
Santa meanwhile changed into his street clothes and then walked directly to the office of the general manager. When he was seated in front of the manager’s desk, he told the manager what his plan was.
The manager’s eyes lit up and then he said, “It’s a great idea and once it is done, we will inform the news media. It will be great publicity for our store.”
“NO!” exclaimed the other man. “We must never tell anyone what we are doing.”
“Why not?” asked the manager.
“For two reasons. The first reason is the most important one. It would embarrass the boy’s mother and probably him also. But the second reason is also important.” The old man paused and then said, “You would have hundreds of children coming here with the same story and what would we do for them that we haven’t done for this boy and his mother?”
The manager rose from his chair and reached for the old man’s hand and as he shook it, he said, “Leave everything to me. I will arrange everything and it will be at the store’s expense.”
“And…” said the old man before he was interrupted.
“And it will be done very secretly.” replied the manager.
Jonathan and his mother took the bus home the next day and before they began walking down the street to their left where their home was, she looked at the setting sun in the distance and then wondered why Jonathan wouldn’t tell her what he wanted for Christmas. Was it because he didn’t expect anything?
Jonathan’s mother was distraught. For the past six years she has never had enough money to buy a present for her son. Buying him clothes was the most she could afford on her meagre income.
That evening was December 24th and the snow fell quite heavily so by the time it got dark, most people were inside their homes. Jonathan and his mother were asleep when she received a phone call at nine in the evening. The man on the phone said that he was from the post office and that a special delivery was being made at ten that night.
“Who is the delivery for?” she asked
The voice on the other end of the receiver asked, “Do you have someone there by the name of Jonathan?”
“Yes, I do. He is my six-year-old son.”
“Then,” said the voice firmly, “You better get him up at that time because he has to sign for it.”
“I am his mother,” exclaimed Jonathan’s mother angrily. “I will sign it for him.”
The voice paused and then said sadly, “I’m sorry Ma’m but unless the boy signs for it, the delivery can’t be made.”
“Very well,” replied the boy’s mother, “I will have him at the door when you ring the buzzer.” With that having been said, she hung up the phone.
When it was fifteen minutes before ten, she woke up her son and when ten o’clock arrived, so did whoever was making the delivery.
When the sound of the buzzer was heard, Jonathan’s mother motioned to her son and said, “Someone is making a delivery for you.”
Jonathan jumped up from the chair and exclaimed, “It’s Santa. He kept his word. He’s coming to visit me.”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed his mother. It’s the postman.”
“No. It’s not. It’s Santa. He said that he would come and visit me.”
The buzzer rang again and before the third ring, Jonathan opened the door and there before him was the man he recognized from before as Santa Claus.
“Santa!” cried out the little boy with excitement. “You kept your word.”
As the old white bearded man dressed in a red suit and carrying a bag over his shoulder entered the hallway, he smiled at Jonathan and said, “Jonathan, my boy. People, who break their promises, impair confidence in those whom the promise was made but if you keep a promise, you enrich the relationship you have with the one you have given your word to.”
When the three of them were in the living room, Santa began to open the bag and brought out various toys. He smiled and said, “These are the toys I forgot to bring you in previous years.” Then he said, “Oh, there is something I also forgot.” He left the room and went out the front door and in seconds, he returned with a large cardboard box. He looked at Jonathan’s mother and said, “Your son told me that he wished that you both had a bigger Christmas tree and I just happened to have one in my sleigh.”
As he brought it out, he said, “You know, no one has ever let me put up a Christmas tree. Could I help you put up this tree?”
“Of course,” replied Jonathan’s mother. And put it up the three of them did. When it was finally finished, it had coloured flashing lights, silver bells and golden glass balls hanging from the branches.
Then Santa said with a smile, “You know, Jonathan, good boys are supposed to be asleep when Santa comes in the middle of the night.”
Jonathan was no fool. He knew that if he went to bed right away, he would still be on Santa’s good side so while about to be piggybacked up the stairs by his mother he asked, “Will I see you next year?”
“Of course my boy but only when you visit Santa’s Village like you did yesterday.”
“You mean you won’t come to our home again like you did tonight?”
Santa laughed uproariously and then said, HO! HO! my son. I only visit one home before midnight each year and tonight was the only visit I am making before midnight this year. Next year, I will make a another visit before midnight to the home of some other child however, I will bring you another toy when you are asleep.”
Jonathan was pleased as punch, not only for the toys and the tree, but most importantly, for the visit he received as previously promised to him.
The old man looked at them both and while putting his finger to his lips, he said, “Remember, this visit must be a secret between us.”
Jonathan and his mother nodded their heads in agreement.
As Santa was opening the door, Jonathan cried out, “Santa, do you have a present for my mom?”
“Good Lord! I almost forgot. I am getting so forgetful in my old age.” cried out the old man. “Of course I have a present for your mom.”
He reached into a pocket and pulled out a red coloured envelope. He handed it to Jonathan’s mother and whispered, “I generally only bring presents to children but it gives me great pleasure to hand you this one.”
Then with a quick turn, he opened the door and quickly closed it behind him. Jonathan’s mother opened the red envelope and stared at the letter. It was written by the manager of the department store they had visited in the large city. What was in it was brief. It said; “Please visit my office between December 27th and the 30th as I wish to offer you a position in our store, one I feel that you can handle well. While you are living in our city, I will see that you and your son have a nice house to live in.”
She ran to the door but before she opened it, she heard the old man outside yell, “On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen! Away!”
She opened the door and both she and Jonathan looked outside in every direction. Not only was there no sign of the old man in the red suit, but strangely enough, there wasn’t any sign of footsteps on the snow-covered sidewalk leading to the street or any signs that there had ever been a vehicle on the street that night had just been driven away.
Jonathan was confused. He knew that Santa Claus had been in their house otherwise how else could the tree and the presents been brought into the house? But if he was there and it wasn’t all a dream, then how did he disappear so quickly? He didn’t come into the house through the chimney so his sleigh couldn’t have been in the roof.
Jonathan turned and faced his mother and asked, “Was he really here? Is Santa Claus for real or did I just imagine that he was here and he really doesn’t exist?”
His mother thought for a moment while she stared at the snow flakes falling to the ground as they reflected the various colours of their Christmas tree lights shining though the window and then replied, “Jonathan. Santa Claus represents the hopes and dreams of everyone who believes that no matter how bad things may be, life can always be better for all of us. My son. Santa Claus is for real.”
On next Monday, I will post the titles of all the articles I wrote in my blog from the latest to the oldest. The dates they were published will also be included. If those who came later to my blog want to read those earlier blogs, you can scroll down from the latest blog or go to the oldest one and scroll up to reach the blogs you want to read. Meanwhile I wish all of you the best in merriment this season.