SANTA DIDN'T FORGET
by Christine Smith
by Christine Smith
When I was in grade school my family lived next door to a large commercial bakery. My father worked there for a short time and each Christmas the employees enjoyed an elaborate party sponsored by the bakery owners. The food, entertainment, decorations and Santa were supplied. However, parents were instructed to bring a wrapped gift for each of their children in attendance to place under the Christmas tree in the front of the enormous cafeteria where the party was held.
My family attended the party. I can't remember how old I was, but I believed in Santa, along with my three sisters and brother. The five of us were so excited we were beside ourselves with expectations. None of us had ever been to a party before. I remember there was a group of people singing Christmas Carols, a couple of speakers, and of course the main event -- Santa passing out the gifts for all the boys and girls that parents had placed under the tree!
Our family was sitting near the center back of the cafeteria. Our food had been greatly enjoyed and our trash discarded. Now we waited in anticipation for our names to be called by Santa. Each time an elf handed Santa a present we held our breath in hopes our name would be next. Child after child went forward to accept their gifts from Santa, skipping and scurrying back to their parents so the gift could be opened and revealed. The sound of wrapping paper being ripped mingled with squeals of happiness as one by one the gifts began to dwindle. It soon became evident to my siblings and me that Santa may have forgotten us. We harbored the secret thought that perhaps we weren't good enough to warrant a gift from Santa.
Still, there were a few gifts left. Hope filled my heart right up until the very last gift was left and claimed by a girl up front. My parents looked miserable and asked if we were ready to go home. With heads hung low and spirits trampled, my brother and sisters and myself began to get into our coats and jackets.
"Look everyone," I shouted. "Santa's coming to our table!"
Sure enough. There stood Santa right beside our table and he held five orange net stockings. Each one was filled with oranges, apples, walnuts and a tiny toy as well. Santa handed one to each of us as we were leaving and called out, "Merry Christmas Children! Ho Ho Ho!"
I remember feeling so special, Santa came to our table. He hadn't forgotten us or decided we were too bad to deserve a gift!
"Santa didn't forget us!" my brother shouted as he voiced my own thoughts. Years later, I found out that my parents didn't have enough money to place a gift under the tree for us and that the orange net stockings were passed out to every child in attendance. The only thing I remember thinking was that we got the best presents of any children in the room.
God bless the insight of that particular Santa and the person or persons who pointed out our lack of gifts. I like to think because of that occasion, my heart is a little more open and my eyes are a little more observant of the needs of those around me.
Merry Christmas! -- Christine Smith
Christine is the mother of three children, grandmother of 13, and foster mother to many more. She loves children, reading, and writing. Her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup For The Soul, Woman's World Magazine and a foster care newsletter.
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