Here’s a piece I penned in 1985, sent to you now with sincere holiday wishes.

Christmas and Santa Claus

My wife’s employment takes her to in-home counseling situations where physical conditions of the houses are cramped and personal relationships between family members are frazzled or broken.  On the day after Christmas she visited a family in a small community north of Kansas City.  During her conversation with the family – father, mother who had been a child-bride, and two children (one of whom was disfigured from accidentally being scalded in hot bath water by her sister) – my wife was informed that because the family could not afford Christmas presents, the parents told their 7 and 5 year old daughters that Santa Claus had been killed, that he was dead and wouldn’t be bringing presents this year.

My wife wondered if the couple had thought about what would happen when the kids went out to play with friends or returned to school and found Santa Claus had indeed visited many houses in that community.  “Won’t it be difficult for your girls to trust your word anymore?” Peggy asked.

The couple said that hadn’t occurred to them, but it didn’t matter; for their girls had told the kids across the street that Santa Claus had died and wouldn’t be bringing any presents this year.  Those kids told their parents, and they – who couldn’t afford gifts any more than the people Peggy was counseling – gathered all the neighbors to purchase gifts for the two girls.  They put the presents in a box and placed the box on the girls’ doorstep for Christmas morning.

When Christmas came, the box was discovered and there was great joy as the girls tore through their treasures.  “We guess Santa Claus isn’t dead after all,” the parents conceded to their children.

Meanwhile, the parents across the street, who didn’t have much to give but mobilized the neighborhood, said “If Santa Claus would have died for one family, he would have been dead for everyone on the street.”

Posted in: Perspective


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