From the author: A flash about an honest and giving child's Christmas Eve.
A sweet Christmas flash...
Stevie wasn’t supposed to be awake or in the front room at night, especially not on Christmas Eve.
The excitement kept him awake after Mom flicked off his bedroom lights. The dreams of toys, encouraged by online videos and printed advertising from the mailbox pulled him to the Christmas-scented front room and the star-topped Christmas tree: which presents had his parents gotten for him?
But no presents lay under the tree. Even his stocking, hung on the door with his name written in glitter, lay flat, though his parents’ stockings bulged with gifts. Even the dog’s stocking had dog treats sticking out of it. But his was empty.
A plate of chocolate chip cookies, baked this morning with his mom, was on the kitchen table, along with a glass of milk, untouched by the red-suited man sitting on the sturdy wooden chair.
“Who are you?” Stevie asked. Maybe he should yell for his parents!
“I’m Santa Claus,” the man said. “I got your letter.” He held a sheet of lined paper. Stevie had written on it with his favorite pencil not 3 days ago. “’Dear Santa,’” the man read outloud.
“I didn’t send it!” Stevie yelped.
“My elves find all the letters,” the man said. He continued to read.
“’I haven’t been a good boy this year,’” the man in the red suit said. “”I made my mom cry sometimes and when I broke my dad’s special ladder and lied about it he was sad. And I stole a toy from a friend.
“’I want you to give my presents to other kids who won’t get anything. I know Mom and Dad love me, even if I’m bad, but I don’t deserve Santa gifts this year.’”
“You’re really Santa?” Stevie wasn’t convinced but the man looked like the pictures in the book. And he had the letter Stevie had hidden under his mattress. Maybe this was Santa.
The man smiled at Stevie. “Most kids write a list of gifts they want. People forget that all kids are good – even you, Stevie! – and all kids are bad sometimes. You understand it, though! Your letter is a precious gift to me. May I keep it?”
“Yes!” Stevie said. This had to be Santa! He knew about kids! And he knew that Stevie wanted to be good all the time, but sometimes….
“Good! Now, I have plenty of Santa-gifts for children all over the world, so I don’t need yours.” Santa waved his hand towards the tree. The sparkling tree lights sprang on and colorfully-wrapped presents appeared under it. Even Stevie’s stocking plumped out with small toys.
“Oh!” Stevie took a step towards the tree. Then he thought better of it. It wasn’t Christmas morning yet! He could wait. He turned back to Santa. But the man in the red suit was gone. The cookies were little more than crumbs on the plate and only a little milk remained in the glass. And, very faintly, Stevie heard jingling bells, and a cheerful, “Ho-ho-ho, Merry Christmas!”
--- MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MY FRIENDS!