Presents from Santa Claus
This short story is about a boy who no longer believes in Santa Claus but wants to make Christmas special for his little brother.
Presents from Santa Claus
Josh stood in line, holding his little brother, Brandon’s hand. He felt like he had been in line for an hour, listening to Christmas songs and looking at the wintery, false North Pole setup in the middle of the mall. Teenagers dressed as elves were taking pictures, handing out candy canes and trying to make the little kids smile while outside the “North Pole” shoppers walked past, hurrying from store to store.
Josh was nervous. Not about seeing Santa, of course. He was nine years old and knew Santa didn’t exist, but still pretended for his little brother and his parents. Brandon was only four and was a little scared of Santa but he told him not to worry. He looked back at his parents standing behind him and gave them a smile. They smiled back but he could see the worried look in their eyes.
A few weeks ago Josh’s father came home early from work. He had lost his job. Ever since, he and Brandon stopped going to daycare after school and instead would be home with Dad who played games with Brandon and helped Josh with his homework. At night he could hear his parents talking about money and how Mom was going to work more hours while Dad looked for work.
A couple weeks later, at Thanksgiving at his uncle’s house, Josh realized that his parents might not be able to afford good presents from “Santa Claus” this year. He was worried about what it would mean for his brother if he asked Santa for something they couldn’t afford. He and his older cousin Sam went into Sam’s room to talk about it. Fourteen year old Sam had grandparents who sent him a new truck every year, even though he’d long outgrown them, but he dutifully collected them, displayed on a shelf, still in their boxes and sent them pictures every year.
“Maybe we can convince Brandon to ask Santa for a couple trucks,” Sam had suggested brightly. “I could give your parents a few of mine, and a few video games I don’t play much anymore that you’ll probably like.”
“That’s perfect!” Josh had responded. “I’ll ask Santa for a couple video games that I don’t already have and I know Brandon likes trucks. It’ll be easy to get him to ask Santa for that.”
Now they were almost at Santa and Josh was nervous. He kept reminding Brandon to ask Santa for trucks but he was afraid he might change his mind at the last minute and ask for something else. He went up to Santa, Brandon still clinging to his hand. “It’s OK, Brandon. We’ll go together.”
A teenage boy helped Brandon climb up onto one of Santa’s knees while Josh sat on the other. “What are your names?” Santa asked.
“Joshua,” he said.
“Brandon,” his brother said in a tiny voice.
“Have you been good boys for your parents this year?”
“Yes” they both said.
“I know you have,” Santa smiled. “Now, tell me. What do you want for Christmas this year?”
“I just want a couple games for my system. I don’t have many. Anything you think will be fun.”
“I’m sure my elves can come up with something for you,” Santa said. “And for you, Brandon?”
Brandon’s eyes widened when he heard Santa say his name even though he’d just told it to him. “I want . . . I want . . . a truck.” Josh was relieved. Now all he had to do was call Sam and tell him to deliver the presents to their house.
During the rest of the days before Christmas, Josh kept telling Brandon stories about how Santa comes to the house with his sleigh pulled by reindeer and leaves presents under the tree. He helped him get his stocking out and put it by the tree with and plan the perfect snack for Santa – milk and gingerbread cookies plus an apple for Rudolph. They even wrote a note for Santa together wishing him a Merry Christmas and a safe journey. He also had been telling his parents how excited he was to get a game from Santa, that he asked Santa because he knew video games were expensive, but he asked Santa to surprise him.
Christmas Eve he had trouble falling asleep. Brandon on the bunk below him was awake late, too excited to sleep, and kept talking to him. Finally, he climbed down into Brandon’s bunk and told him the Night Before Christmas he’d memorized the year before in school. Brandon fell asleep before he finished and Josh fell asleep soon after.
On Christmas morning Josh waited until 7:00 before he let Brandon go wake up their parents in the next room. They went together to the living room and looked at the presents that were now under the tree and the half eaten cookie and empty glass of milk with a new Santa-shaped chocolate was sitting as a thank you. Their stockings were bulging with candy and when they opened their presents, Josh was surprised to find brand new trucks for Brandon and video games for himself, plus some clothes that both he and his brother needed.
Maybe Santa really did exist.