I sat in front of our fireplace after dinner and stared at the flames. Things had gone well enough for Christmas 2023, but something still bothered me.
I heard Ms. Claus enter. “Thought you might like a hot cup of cocoa and a cookie for dessert,” she whispered and gave me a quick kiss on my cheek.
“You know me too well,” I responded as Anya settled into her chair with tea and a cookie.
“It’s nice to sit down and enjoy a fire together for a change,” she said. “It gives us a chance to talk about Christmas and what you noticed this year about the children.”
“I was just thinking about that.” I turned to face Anya and nodded my head. “Remember when I started doing this and gave children clothes, shoes, food, and sometimes a wooden toy? They were so happy.”
Anya sipped her tea and smiled. “That’s what they needed in those days.”
“Yes, it was, and they were thankful for what they received. Today it’s different.”
“What do you mean?” my wife asked as she shifted to better see my face.
I leaned my head back and thought for a minute before responding. “Well for one it’s not about what they need anymore. It’s all about what they want, and many of them want a lot!”
“That doesn’t sound too unusual. Children seem to want more these days, but most understand that they won’t get everything they ordered. So, what’s really bothering you?” Anya patted my hand and gave me a quizzical look.
“Yes, I agree, but when children rattle off a list of things like iPhones, televisions, refrigerators for their rooms, and dirt bikes I wonder if they have forgotten that giving not just receiving is also important.”
“Now wait a minute. There’s nothing wrong with a dirt bike,” Anya said. “It still gets kids outside using their energy to peddle their way through the outdoors.”
“They are not asking for the trail bikes we make. They want the motorized ones!” I exclaimed. “And can you believe, girls as young as five are asking for make-up and skin care.”
“That does seem a bit young to be concerned about such things.”
“I feel like they are more interested in growing up than just enjoying their childhood.”
I watched my wife settle back in her chair with a look of concern. “Santa, I’m sure not all children are asking for those things.”
“No, you’re right. Most are very practical. They ask for just a couple of things for themselves. I even had more children asking for things for others this year than I ever had. One little girl said she had everything she wanted. Then she told me to give her gifts to someone who really needed them. Finally, she thanked me for what I do! Imagine that.”
“See, Santa, all is not lost if children are putting other’s needs over theirs.” Anya took my hand in hers and gave it a little squeeze. “Now tell me, what was the most memorable moment for you this year?”
I didn’t hesitate to answer. “My visit with five-year-old Vaughn.”
“When? Where? You never said anything about it.”
“I know. Never had time till now. You’ll love this one. After laying out all the presents, I sat down to admire the tree and have one of their delicious-looking snickerdoodles. Suddenly, I heard a little voice by my left elbow say, ‘Hi Santa’. I looked over and saw Vaughn with a big grin on his face.”
“Well, all I could do was laugh. Then he giggled and grabbed a snickerdoodle. ‘Mama says that out of all the cookies we put out, you always eat these. They’re my favorite too.”
I sat him on my lap, and we ate our cookies. When finished, he ran over to the tree and grabbed a small package. ‘I have been waiting all year to give this to you,’ he explained, so we opened it together.”
Anya clapped her hands in excitement. “Bet you didn’t see that coming?”
“No, I didn’t. Made me happy. Inside was a Turtle Dove and an empty space for another one. I looked up and asked him where the other dove was. Told me it was in his room. ‘Now we can be friends forever,’ he whispered.”
“I had to think a minute and then remembered his mom telling me that Home Alone 2 was his favorite movie. He especially liked when the toymaker in the movie gave Kevin two Turtle Doves and explained that as long as each had a turtle dove, they would be friends forever.”
“How Sweet! I’m sure you were touched,” Anya said as I readjusted my glasses to wipe away the tears creeping into the corners of my eyes.
I nodded and took a deep breath. “Have my dove on the desk in my office. Every time I look at it, I think about Vaughn and all the children who have such big hearts.”
“Well Santa,” Ms. Claus began as she stood and leaned over to give me a hug, “I think we can say that this Christmas has shown you that there is much hope for the future when these gracious children grow into adults.”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday February 3, 2024. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until the next time . . .
To read another story about presents at Christmas, check out:
The Art of Giving – January 13, 2020
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