I have a tabletop-sized Christmas tree made of driftwood. It has lights but I rarely remember to turn them on. There are presents underneath, well… kind of…, propped up against the table the tree sits on, like toy soldiers on duty. Saddest of all is that it doesn’t even draw our attention if we are watching television; it just sits, invisible, in the corner, an obligatory reminder that it’s December. I am not a Scrooge, I promise, but even I can admit that I have done a pretty poor job of being Christmas-y this year.
In a nutcracker shell, I’ve not allowed myself to get caught up in the holiday spirit at all. Until yesterday.
I was walking through the neighborhood, looking at the beach just past sunrise, snapping pictures of the waves near where I live. Pretty apropos for me. I feel I should mention that only a scant few of the houses around me are decorated for Christmas either, which makes me feel like I fit right in. But then I heard something behind me, the high-pitched fast, lispy gibberish of a little boy certainly missing his front teeth. He was telling his older brother to hand him a letter to stuff into the mailboxes across the street from me. It was a conversation that seemed to be none of my business, so I ignored them and kept snapping.
Then he called to me, “Hey Misth Lady, I made sthomething for Christhmasth!”
“Oh. What did you make?” I turned to face them but I didn’t want to be presumptuous.
“They’re Christhmath cardths. Me and my brother made them for all the people on the sthreet.”
He was about six, no more. Absolutely zero front teeth in his head. Older Brother was maybe eight, a little quieter. They didn’t offer me a card, just held one up so I could see it. It was certainly a white Christmas card-style envelope and it had a gold sticker sealing it shut but there was no writing on the outside.
I bellowed out how lovely they were, kudos to you for being so sweet, I said. I went on about how thoughtful they were, clapping and going on like a proud grandma or something. I certainly know how to do the kid thing. Of course I mentioned Santa Claus and that I bet he was watching.
I told them I hoped they would get something extra good for Christmas for being so kind.
The older brother stayed safely perched on his bicycle, but he pulled one out of his bag, extended it out and said they were delivering them to every single house on the street. (WOW!) Little Brother added “I mesthed up sthome of them but my mom sthaid it’sth ok.” I wasn’t sure if he was giving it to me or simply replenishing his brother’s delivery supply so I didn’t make a move. Instead, I told them both I hoped they had a Merry Christmas and to enjoy their vacation from school. I turned to walk back towards my house when Big Brother said with a quiet, even tone, “But, this one is for you.”
Little Brother snatched it from his hand, ran it over to me, cocked his head to the side and added in the most matter-of-fact tone, “Yesth, I made it JUSTH FOR YOU. Christhmasth isth the mosth sthpecial time of the year.” I knew, I just knew his mom had coached him on all the right things to say to people, because no kid who exists outside of “The Christmas Story” actually goes around saying that kind of thing. There were a good many extra nods in the affirmative added to his statement, just in case the look on my face showed that I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. But all of a sudden, I did.
You can say that again, kiddo. I hope you two get everything you asked for!
Merry Christmas to my friends and family.
May your hearts be filled with just this kind of Christmas Spirit! Like there is in EVERY house on my street!
XOXO, DQ and a couple of little elves who encouraged me to step it up a notch…