35: The Christmas Breeze Box

35: The Christmas Breeze Box

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

The Christmas Breeze Box

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.

~Abraham Sutzkever

My brother and I were examining the cardboard shoebox in the back of the hall closet. He took the top of the box off as he explained, “We can use this box to catch a cold Christmas breeze.”

“A Christmas breeze?”

My brother and I lived in a small, desert town where the only breezes that blew were hot Santa Ana winds. I didn’t understand what my brother was talking about, but he was eight years older, so I trusted him.

“Santa left this last Christmas. I asked him for a breeze from the North Pole.” He shrugged his shoulders. “You know. To prove that he’s real.”

My eyes widened. “Santa gave you a breeze from the North Pole?”

“Oh, yeah. When I opened it, a cold wind blew out and brushed against my face. It had snowflakes and everything.”

I was speechless as I envisioned my brother surrounded by a frosty magical swirl of snowflakes and Christmas glitter.

He nodded. “And, next weekend, Mama and Daddy are taking us to the mountains for the day. Surely there will be snow there. I’ll use this box to capture a breeze. Then, I’ll have it in case I need it.”

“Why would you need it?”

“For a day in July when it’s hot and sweaty and the air conditioner is broken. I’ll pull out my captured breeze and use it to cool down. But, don’t tell anyone else.”

“Why not?”

He leaned in my direction. “They’ll want to steal it from us.”

I immediately became my brother’s accomplice in this breeze capturing endeavor. I searched the house over for another cardboard box.

The next weekend our family went to the mountains and my brother and I ran back and forth with our boxes, attempting to trap the wind. After our boxes were full, we quickly closed the lids. When we arrived home, my brother stored our boxes in the garage refrigerator.

“We don’t want the cold breeze to spoil,” he winked.

“Mikey, could we save mine for Christmas?” I asked

“Christmas? Don’t you want it to cool off on a hot day?”

He went on to paint the scene for me: He and I on the front porch, waving our snowy breezes, the envy of the neighborhood.

“But, I would love a snowy breeze Christmas morning. We never get snow here on Christmas. This way we could.”

“Well, okay.” It was agreed.

From that moment on, I kept an eye on our breeze boxes. My greatest worry was that they would be thrown out accidentally.

Sure enough, we had a sizzling day in July when the temperature soared past 100 degrees. My brother and I sat on the front porch, attempting to cool off.

“I think it’s time for a snowy breeze,” I said.

My brother slowly nodded his head and then led me to the garage. He opened the refrigerator and dug out one of the breeze boxes.

“Now,” he warned, “once it is released, there’s no getting it back in the box. We’ll have to wait until next winter to get another one.”

I eyed him seriously. “Do you think we should save it?”

“Maybe. There might be a day even hotter than this. And, our AC might break.”

“Better put it back just in case.”

And, there it stayed for I don’t know how long.

But, one summer day, years later, when it was warmer than expected, I told my own two young daughters the story of Uncle Mike’s breeze box.

When I was finished my older daughter had an idea. “Maybe we should have a warm breeze box.” She shrugged. “You know. To help keep warm on a cold, snowy day. We do live in snow country, after all. A warm breeze box makes more sense.”

She found an old shoebox, laid it out on the grass to trap sunbeams, I suppose, and went off to dance in a sprinkler.

That next December, the first item on my girls’ Christmas list was a wish for a captured North Pole breeze. Uncle Mike explained that due to the population increase since the 1970’s, Santa isn’t able to send out snowy breezes to every family. There’s only so much snow up there.

But, that Christmas, a certain little girl decided that she should give a gift to Santa instead — a warm breeze box. She left it under the tree for him, with “To: Santa” carefully written on the lid. She hoped he would notice it and take it with him.

And, by all accounts, he did.

~Michele Boom

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