A young boy’s father got laid off from his job a few months before Christmas. The boy was not concerned about what he would or wouldn’t receive for Christmas, Santa would take care of that. Besides, his home was decked out with all the usual holiday decorations. His relatives would still be coming for a few days. Despite his father’s lack of income at that time, there was nothing different this year than in years past.
Although his parents never spoke aloud about finances to the children, he was aware that they were struggling. On occasion he could hear them discussing these matters from the other room, hushing themselves when he or his sisters came near. His mom would hug him and say, “Don’t worry. It’s Christmas. All is well, we’ll be alright”. This comforted the boy, but he was concerned. Not about gifts or Santa, but about his parents. He would gleefully hug his mom back saying, “Everything will be alright. Santa will take care of all of us”.
At school one day just before Christmas, a classmate snapped back at the boy when he mentioned Santa Clause. “There ain’t no Santa! My dad told me. There ain’t no Santa. Not this year or any year. You’re stupid if you believe in that. My dad told me we ain’t having a Christmas or presents this year, we can’t afford it!”
The boy ran home from school that day, closed the door to his room, and laid on his bed. – the tears streamed down his cheek. His concerned mother stuck her had in the door a few times that afternoon inquiring as to why he was crying. The boy only said, “Nothing. I’ll be OK.” He never told his mom or dad about that day at school, and the mean spirited kid who didn’t believe in Santa Clause. He kept it to himself, perhaps because he realized that day that there really wasn’t a Santa Clause. All the stories about the North pole, Santa’s workshop, and coming down the chimney while he slept on Christmas eve were just that…stories…for little kids. And on that day, he was not a little kid any longer.
The boy still loved Christmas time and the holidays over the years. He relished the fact that his children got to enjoy Christmas as he once did – Santa and all! He knew that someday they too may come home from school and stay in their room pondering things kids had said to them about Santa and Christmas. Kids who perhaps were forced to grow out of their beliefs a little too soon. But for the time being, he would allow them to believe all that they wanted to believe.
Oh, and that Christmas when the boy’s dad lost his job? He remembers to this day that it was the nicest, most fulfilling Christmas he ever had. He didn’t receive the gift that he asked for…an aquarium. But he did get a television for his own room. Not a new one. His dad restored an older television in a cabinet with wheels…and a brand new set of rabbit ears on top! It was better than an aquarium. It was the best surprise Christmas gift he ever got. He was content. He had a warm and loving family and home.
Shortly after the first of year, his dad got hired back with the company that laid him off, and he stayed there for many years.
I turned ten years old right after that.