60. Santa’s Joke

60. Santa’s Joke

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Santa’s Joke

Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.

~Kin Hubbard

We lived in St. Louis when I was six years old. There were five of us, ranging in age from five to ten, so you can imagine the flurry of excitement on Christmas morning. The five of us woke very early and hurried to wake Mom and Dad.

Mom insisted that we all brush our teeth before bouncing into the living room where Dad was checking to see if Santa Claus had visited. As we ran in, we stopped and stared at the beautiful Christmas tree and the mound of presents underneath.

In our house, presents were opened systematically. Typically, Mom would hand one package at a time to whichever child was named on the label. Everyone would watch as the presents were opened one by one. This particular year, as we continued to open one present at a time, everyone was opening clothing. There were dresses, boots, hats, scarves, gloves, jeans, and even less exciting that that — socks and underwear. Even our stockings were stuffed with shampoo and soap and other hygiene products.

The five of us tore open these presents at record pace, thinking that with the next gift there surely would be a toy, a game, or even a book. Alas, as the pile continued to dwindle, and the last present was opened, socks if I remember correctly, there was not a toy to be found. We were all disappointed but tried not to show it.

Mom said something about thanking Santa and suggested that we all head into the kitchen for breakfast. We did indeed mumble a thank you and slowly followed Mom and Dad to the kitchen.

As we sullenly went around the corner and into the dining room we were suddenly amazed. There in front of the dining room window was a second Christmas tree. Even more, there was another mound of presents underneath. I can still hear our high-pitched squeals. There were claps and jumps and oohs and ahs everywhere!

Mom and Dad were equally surprised and said something like, “Well — I guess breakfast can wait a little longer! What did Santa do?” With that we again began the process of opening presents one by one so that everyone could see the wonderful Christmas gifts. And in this room, full of our second Christmas, the presents were all toys, games, coloring books, crayons, play-dough, dolls, paints, and racing cars. There was not a pair of socks to be found!

As we finished opening gifts, we again thanked Santa (with much more enthusiasm this time) and happily skipped into the kitchen for breakfast. As I’ve grown older, I consider how practical that first Christmas tree and the gifts underneath were and I also think about how tricky Santa had been! That joke he played on all of us made for a very memorable Christmas!

~Lil Blosfield

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