78. Christmas in July

78. Christmas in July

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Christmas in July

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.

~Edna Ferber

A few years ago a good friend of ours who was always “doing for others” was going through a really tough time both personally and professionally. As he was a self-proclaimed “Christmas person,” a few of us decided to throw him a “Surprise Christmas” gathering in the middle of the summer to help boost his spirits.

As I love Christmas too, it was great fun simply preparing for the party. Of course there was some decorating to be done, a couple of presents to wrap, a tree to be put up and a few other items to add to the ambience.

Finally, the day arrived! The garland was hung; the little tree was decorated and the presents were under it; a video was playing on the TV with Christmas and winter scenes; the table was set for dinner with the holiday china; and the Christmas music was all set, simply waiting for the push of a button.

As it turned out to be the hottest day of the summer so far, up in the 90’s, the curtains were all drawn and the air-conditioner was going at full blast so that it would actually feel cold when one entered the house.

All of the guests arrived. As we anxiously awaited the guest of honor, who had been told that it was a dinner party, it was really difficult to keep our excitement to a non-boisterous level.

Finally, one of the guests who had been keeping a “lookout” from behind a curtain said, “He’s here!” So, we all took our places. One person was to open the door when our guest rang the doorbell, another was to begin the CD that played “We Need a Little Christmas” from the Broadway hit Mame, and the rest of us were to yell “Merry Christmas!”

Why no one thought to have a camera handy I’ll never know, as the look on his face was priceless. Shock! Surprise! And a smile! He was speechless as he made every attempt to regain his composure. For one thing, he couldn’t believe that we had pulled off the surprise. And as each minute passed, the smile on his face grew.

But, we weren’t done yet. As we were eating dessert a group of carolers could be heard singing on the front porch. We, of course, invited these wonderful ladies inside where it was cooler, as they were all dressed in winter hats, scarves and mittens. We sang a few songs together.

After the carolers left, we had gift exchange — little mementoes of a wonderful evening together.

But the biggest surprise for all of us was yet to come. As we sat enjoying our coffee and each other’s company we heard sleigh bells and a very hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho” coming from the front porch. As I opened the front door, there he stood — Santa Claus!

None of us could believe it! He not only had a gift for each of us but also had a list that told him if we had been “naughty or nice.”

Then as quickly as he arrived, he was gone.

We spent the rest of the evening singing Christmas carols and enjoying the smile on our friend’s face.

It had truly been one special and magical evening. So much so, that we all decided that what every July needed was “a little Christmas” for many years to come.

~Helen A. Scieszka

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