26: The Best Christmas Ever

26: The Best Christmas Ever

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

The Best Christmas Ever

Keep your Christmas-heart open all the year round.

~Jessica Archmint

The Christmas holiday was approaching, and I was working in a dental office. One day, the dental assistant and I were cleaning the teeth of two little girls — sisters. I asked my tiny patient, “Are you excited for Christmas to get here?” With my hands in her mouth she nodded. Next I asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” She pushed my hands out of her mouth.

“My dad had a talk with us. He told us that Santa won’t be bringing presents this year because we don’t have any money.” She continued, “He feels really bad but it’s okay. I went shopping with my aunt and got my mom and dad socks for Christmas.” I could hear her older sister “shushing” her from the adjoining operatory.

Tears were burning my eyes. “Well, I’m sure that it will be fun with your family.” Next, she said, “My grandma will cook food but we don’t have a Christmas tree or anything either.”

The other dental assistant and I looked at each other. She was obviously as moved as I was. With a lump in my throat, I said, “I am sure that it will be a good Christmas.” My heart was breaking as I watched this adorable little girl head back to the waiting room to join her mother.

I met with her mom to explain the outcome of the day’s checkup and in that moment I noticed the office Christmas tree.

At lunchtime the office staff was buzzing as I told them the story of the sisters. I then asked my boss if we could give them the office tree. He wanted to but was cautious because he didn’t want to offend the family. He thought out loud, “We have to find a way to give them the tree without being hurtful.”

“What if we told them they somehow won it?” I asked. This was getting exciting now. Everyone was chipping in money, presents and food. Another patient overheard us and asked if she could write us a check for $100 so that we could buy the girls and their parents Christmas presents.

The next day, I called the patients’ home. I told the mother that we drew the name of her daughter and that they won our office Christmas tree decorations and all... that is, if they didn’t have one yet. She replied, “No, we don’t have one... yet.” Her voice cracked as she answered.

“Great!” I almost shouted, “Can we deliver it tonight?”

We loaded up the tree in my boss’s truck and headed to... well... let’s just say not the nicest part of town. The excited girls met us at the door and asked us to come in. As we dragged the tree through the door my heart sank. I knew that it was going to be rough; I just didn’t expect it to be this hard. It was obvious that the family was struggling to make ends meet and that presents and a tree were not even a slight possibility.

We pulled out the decorations and they asked us to stay and help. When we were finished we plugged in the lights. We all just stood there in silence. I mean, the kind of silence that gets heavy and still. Again I could feel the tears well up. Finally, our little patient exclaimed, “This tree is beautiful. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”

The next day was Christmas Eve. I shopped, wrapped and bagged the gifts. I boxed a turkey and all of the trimmings carefully. Late that night my husband and I drove with our car lights off down the street with bags and boxes. We carried our first load to the front of the yard.

“The gate’s locked,” my husband whispered to me.

“Then climb over the fence,” I told him.

“Lori, you don’t climb over fences at midnight in this neighborhood unless you want to get shot,” he replied.

“I bet Santa would,” I laughed.

We ended up tossing the bags over the fence and hurrying off to call the family and alert them that their yard was full of surprises.

“Hello,” a sleepy voice answered.

“Go look in your front yard, man,” Bob said.

“Who is this? What are you talking about? I think you have the wrong number,” was the reply.

“No, I have the right number. Go look in your front yard. There are bags of gifts for you and your family. Have a wonderful Christmas!” Bob hung up.

We wondered how the family enjoyed their gifts the next day. I could almost hear my tiny patient shout, “I told you that this would be the best Christmas ever!”

~Lori Bryant

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