Ho! Ho! Humbug!
It was a beautiful Christmas Eve. One of those picture-perfect moon-lit evenings when the fresh-fallen snow hangs so gently from the boughs of the evergreen trees. Everyone in town is now tucked warmly in their beds, awaiting their annual midnight visit from ‘ole Saint Nick. The town hall clock strikes midnight and just like that, the jingle of sleigh bells is heard in the distance. Soon every home will have been visited by Santa Claus and his famous reindeer.
Yet this particular year, something is different. Very different, indeed. It seems that Santa is not nearly as jolly as he has been in the past. As he hops down the chimney of Dr. White’s big two-story home, he’s huffing and puffing a bit more than usual. And rather than his jovial Ho-Ho-Ho, we hear more of a mumbling and grumbling that resembles the growling of a puppy who is about to have her doggie treat stolen away.
It seems that this year, Santa is finding fewer and fewer homes where his visit is all that important. Seems like now-a-days, more and more people around the world are able to go about their own Christmas shopping, buying this and that toy, or game, or gadget on their own. Seems like nobody needs Santa anymore to bring that one-of-a-kind, special gift that makes Christmas morning so special.
Now Santa, as you know, has been delivering Christmas presents to children around the world for a very long time. Year after year, his workshop bustles with activity. Little elves scurrying about, making hundreds and thousands, no wait, millions and billions of specially designed toys, each carefully crafted according to very specific orders from Santa, himself.
In recent years, these special orders have been on the decline. As a matter of fact, would you believe that last year, Santa returned back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve with over 10,000 unwanted toys? Apparently parents made other plans to buy fancy electronic games or other wiz-banged computerized gadgets that the children much preferred over Santa’s toys. To Santa Claus, a man who takes his work very seriously, this was a big blow not only to his business, but to him personally.
This year, by the time Santa arrived at Dr. White’s home, he was finding that nearly half of the items he had brought with him were simply not needed. To add insult to injury, the good doctor’s house was so crammed with store-bought gifts that Santa, in his growing disappointment and disgust, decided there was only enough room for a few North Pole candy canes to be scattered here and there beneath the tree. For heaven’s sakes, even the stockings that were hung with care over Dr. White’s fireplace were already brimming with store-bought candy and other pre-packaged goodies. Why there wasn’t any room for even one small slice of Mrs. Claus’ famous fudge! What’s a person to do?
So by the time Santa arises up Dr. White’s fireplace, we find him mumbling and grumbling much louder than when he descended. As he walks toward his sleigh, the reindeer are getting a pretty good earful on how tired old St. Nick is of traveling from town to town on Christmas Eve, only to find more and more people not really all that excited about his visit.
“I’m getting kind of sick of this, Blitzen.” Santa says, as he throws the leftover presents back onto his sleigh.
“Why do I bother? What’s the use? I work my fingers to the bone for 364 days each year, getting myself ready to bring special gifts to children all over the world. Yet town after town, I find the same thing. Nobody cares anymore. Nobody, Comet. Nobody! Why at the last house, all I found on the table was a smashed-up butter cookie and a half-full glass of soy milk. Rudolph, I’m just not sure I want to keep doing this year after year, what about you?”
Rudolph took a deep breath and hurried the reindeer team onto the next house. Maybe there they’d find an expectant household who would truly appreciate all Santa does in making Christmas so special. Well, sad to say, our story doesn’t get much better from here on. By the time, Santa and his team of reindeer get back to the North Pole, Santa’s mood has soured just about as much as that lukewarm milk he drank back at the Baxter home in Poughkeepsie.
Click here to go on to Chapter Two…
As we celebrate the Advent season, I’d like to share with you one of my personal favorites, a Christmas-time short story I call…Joy Comes in the Morning: A Short Story for Christmas-Time Reading. You might want to bookmark our homepage to keep the whole story in one place! Enjoy!
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