Christmas Derailed

Christmas Derailed

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Book of Christmas Virtues

Christmas Derailed

Boxes, ribbons and wrappings cluttered the entire room, evidence of a rowdy but generous Christmas morning for five-year-old Christopher and his three-year-old brother, David. But Christopher was far too withdrawn and quiet for a little boy who had just received his first electric train set. A bit concerned, I kept watch from the corner of my maternal eye while I scrambled eggs, maintained a running conversation with Grandma and periodically hauled Blossom, our bumbling sheepdog, away from the now listing tree.

What could be wrong? I wondered. Tummy ache? Christopher wasn’t complaining. Disappointment? Not likely, considering his ecstatic response when he saw the train set. Annoyed by the toddling interference of his little brother? No, David played across the room, chattering incessantly to his grandpa and daddy.

Yet I knew a mysterious, dark cloud hung over Christopher’s mood this Christmas morning and carved a furrow of deep thought across his forehead. What in the world was making him so sad and dejected? Unable to find a moment alone with him in all the holiday chaos, I worried as he periodically retreated to his room, only to reappear with the same gloomy look.

When the breakfast dishes were finally put away, and the rest of the family had settled into the quiet hum of conversation and coffee, I took my cup of tea and slid to the floor next to Christopher, where he distractedly spun a wheel on one of his new trucks.

“Hey, honey,” I whispered quietly in his ear, “I noticed that you seem a little sad this morning. What’s wrong?”

“Well, Mommy,” he said in a melancholy little voice, “remember that ring I got in the gumball machine? I gave it to the Tooth Fairy for Christmas.”

Oh no, I groaned inwardly.

“How did you do that?” I asked, with a foreboding sense of what I was about to hear.

“Oh, I put it under my pillow where she always looks. But she didn’t take it. I been checking all morning, and it’s still there. And I really wanted to give her a present. How come she didn’t want it?” he asked plaintively, looking up at me for an answer.

Rejected by the Tooth Fairy! How could she have been so thoughtless? And how could I explain without completely deflating the faith and kind heart of this little boy?

“Hmmm,” I stalled. “Do you think she’s busy collecting teeth this morning? Maybe she’ll come later.”

He considered the possibility thoughtfully, but shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. She comes at night when kids are asleep.”

I had to make this right. But how? Moments passed while I groped for another idea—any idea. Then, quite unexpectedly, Christopher’s entire being erupted with eureka joy.

“Mommy, I bet I know why she didn’t take it!” he blurted. “I bet she’s Jewish!” And with that resolved, off he ran, smiling broadly, to engineer his new electric train.

Armené Humber

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