A Christmas Story
By Darren T.
“Ho, ho, ho! Go home, little boy!”
My mother, on Christmas Day, arranged for all the children in the house to be looking out a bay window and suddenly see Santa Claus walking through the yard. The warmth of the season would fill our hearts, and we’d all move on to playing contentedly with the new toys we’d just unwrapped. Foolproof, right?
But mum did not bank on her eight-year-old son wanting a closer look. No, not in her nightmares could she have advanced such a notion, but the moment the front door slammed behind me, she knew this was going to end badly.
I’d gazed upon him for maybe a second when instinct took over. My shoes sucked themselves onto my feet as I charged out the door. I’d started the day as a nondescript kid, but I might end it as one of Santa’s helpers. Not bad, eh?
Upon my explosion out of the house, Santa experienced what must have been a moment of true terror. But there wasn’t time to think through the options. There was only time to run. And run he did, into the deep snowy ditch next to the two-lane country highway.
Something about him running erased any doubt that he was real. Of course he can’t stop to say hello. He has so many homes to visit around the world! He has to get back to his sleigh!
Oh, but I wanted to see it. All of it. I needed Santa to look me in the eye and say my name. I was determined to get Santa. Imagine passing motorists’ surprise, witnessing Santa Claus chased by a boy in a ditch.
“Ho, ho, ho! Go home, little boy!
My uncle tried to deter me with a pleasant yet stern command to give up the fight. If I caught him, I’d know him. He couldn’t bear to cause such a hard ending to a childhood fantasy. Instead, he gambled that urging me to go home might disappoint me yet not pull the rug out. I pity him to this day for that.
I slowed to a walk while he ran on. Confused and heartbroken, I turned and shuffled home into the desperately sorry arms of my mother, whose only wish had been to purvey some Christmas cheer. “I just wanted to say hello to him, but he didn’t want me to,” I cried.
A short time later, my uncle rejoined the family. The adults let on nothing, but by nightfall I had worked it out. Santa wasn’t who I thought he was. From that Christmas on, I vowed, a gift addressed to me from Santa would fall flat. Why should I take something from a stupid old fake man who doesn’t even like kids?
I stewed for a while, but one year later I was ready to forgive. Maybe I’d been a bit hasty saying I wouldn’t accept any more gifts from Santa. It was Christmas, after all.
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