Crash! He jumped out of bed. Excited. His parents had been telling him stories of Santa and his reindeer for years. But he’s always fallen asleep too early for Santa to come. But today was Christmas eve. Isn’t it a bit early for Santa?
Mama always told him that Santa came at 12am, midnight, every Christmas. It was only 11:30pm. Was Santa early today? Well, such matters didn’t bother him. He finally stayed awake long enough to see the man.
He bit his lip in anticipation. He wondered what gifts Santa would give him this year. That is, if he was deemed nice enough. But he was certain that he was. Mama said so. He even awards from his daycare nanny. Surely, Santa would agree.
He ran down the stairs, unable to contain his delight. It was dark. But he couldn’t risk turning on the light and scaring Santa. Mama said that Santa didn’t like being caught delivering presents. But Mama didn’t say he couldn’t go take a peek. Slowing down his steps, and walking with tiptoes, he passed corner after corner, until he arrived in full view of the Christmas tree.
It’s lights were on, as it was every Christmas. He insisted that they were kept on. Mama said that Santa could see fine without them. But, even if he could see in the dark, weren’t the colors much more welcoming? Eventually, mama agreed with him, and left them on.
He could see a figure working on something in the corner, a sack over his shoulders. Was it Santa? The man was certainly thinner than he expected for Santa. The pictures that were often so proudly displayed on billboards and advertisements always showed a man with a large potbelly. Still, he couldn’t judge. Perhaps Santa lost weight over the year, and the stores weren’t fast enough to update it.
He smiled, watching from his corner. Surely, the man had presents. Santa had given him presents nearly every year, except for that year that he threw a tantrum on Christmas week. He had so badly wanted a candy cane, like his other playmates had, but mama wouldn’t give him any. She said it was bad for his teeth. She must’ve been right, because Santa definitely punished him for his act.
Mama said that Santa only gave presents to children. Since he was here, it must mean that he was deserving. He was the only child in his family. Although mama said she wanted to give him a brother or a sister, she hadn’t done so yet. Papa was always away for so long. But he knew that papa would always be back. He closed his eyes praying.
Maybe Santa could bring papa back to him this year. He missed papa. But papa was always busy. Mama told him that papa couldn’t come back every Christmas. But Santa was magical wasn’t he? Otherwise, how could he go to every home at midnight every year? There were so many homes. At least there were in his neighborhood. Maybe Santa could bring something special.
The figure stood, sack still on his back. He drew himself further behind the wall that he watched behind. The figure turned around. In the soft glow of the Christmas lights, he saw a face that he recognized, behind the beard that wasn’t quite as white as the advertisements made him out to be.
“Papa!” He shouted, forgetting mama’s instructions that he doesn’t appear in front of Santa.
The man startled, but smiled, opening his arms. Without hesitation, he ran at the man, throwing himself into his papa’s arms. He wiped his face over papa’s shoulders. A wet stain dotted papa’s shoulder. Papa told him that men didn’t cry. But he was so happy to see him.
He heard footsteps from above. Within moments, mama appeared around the corner.
“Andrew!” She shouted, also running toward him. Though it was dark, he could tell from his mama’s hoarse voice. She was crying too. He supposed mama didn’t know that papa was Santa. That explained why papa was always out for so long. He was magical.
Mama threw her arms around both he and papa. She must’ve missed him too. Though she didn’t tell him so, he could tell. Holding him with one hand, papa wrapped his other arm around mama. They kissed. He covered his eyes. Mama said that when she and papa kissed, children weren’t supposed to watch, or Santa would take them off the nice list.
But he still peeked anyways. He was happy. It didn’t matter if he was on the nice list anymore. Papa was back. That was the best present that Santa — no, papa… could give him. He had both mama and papa this Christmas. He didn’t regret coming to see Santa tonight, for he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have realized that he had the best papa of them all.
This story was inspired by a combination of the writing prompt from the “Promptly Written” Publication, and the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by the Jackson 5.
It’s Christmas Eve. You are awakened by a crash downstairs. You go to investigate. Write a scene or a complete story. You may write a Christmas Eve poem on your choice of topic. Any form, any length. Restriction — Santa Clause?