Five-year-old Jim couldn’t sleep that night. His parents had put him to bed after reading his favourite story from his favourite book, kissed him on the forehead, turned his favourite lamp off and went to bed. But, his eyes refused to shut. He was on a super-secret mission that night.
A while later, little Jim heard footsteps on the roof. A while later, little Jim heard footsteps on the roof. Jim knew this wasn’t a monster because monsters never came on Christmas eve. Jim tiptoed to the hall and hid behind a curtain as he heard some scuffling in the chimney. After a few scratches and grunts, a pair of legs dropped onto the dying embers but the man in red didn’t seem to mind. He crawled out of the furnace soiling the carpet with burnt coal. Mama is going to be angry, Jim thought.
The plump bespectacled man in red and elvish black shoes which were supposed to be green looked around the hall. He took a few steps towards the Christmas tree and rung a bell. The sound of the bell seemed to cheer him up and cleaned up all the mess he created.
Jim’s eyes lit in joy and his face began to turn blue as he forgot to breathe out of excitement to see Santa!!
Santa walked around the room and slipped in Jim’s gift in the red sock that Jim’s father helped him tie on the wall. Jim could hold himself no longer and ran to Santa and hugged him.
“Thank you! Thank you!Thank you!” Jim screamed as he thrust his little head into Santa’s welcoming belly. “Shouldn’t you be asleep son?”
Jim took a step back shyly and looked blankly at Santa. Santa picked him up in his comfortable arms and kissed him on the Cheeks. “You have been a good boy, Jim!” His beard and moustache tickled Jim who let out a squeal of laughter.
Santa put Jim down and walked toward the furnace. “Oh, I just forgot”, he said and rang a bell from the tree again. Ting-Ting. Santa climbed into the chimney and was gone. And so was any trace of him being there except in Jim’s mind.
Jim tiptoed back to his room hugging his new box of crayons. He closed the door when he heard his dad tiptoeing to the hall and sliding a pack of Crayons in the now-empty sock. Jim smiled from behind the door.
It was the first day of school after the Christmas holidays. It was during art class when Miss Leventhal asked all the children to take out crayons to draw what they loved about Christmas. Julia started to cry at her desk near the door. The girl was lean, undernourished and wore old clothes. Miss Leventhal went to Julia and consoled her. Jim had heard his mother tell him that Julia’s parents weren’t rich like them when they had gone to buy a big big big Christmas tree and Julia’s parents had gotten a small tree which was shorter than Julia.
“Jim! You must always share with your friends”, Jim’s mom would always tell him. And Jim knew what he should do.
Jim walked up to Miss Leventhal and Julia and stood. “What do you want?”, asked Miss Leventhal smiling at Jim. Jim looked at Julia and gave her his set of crayons. “Take it.”
Julia hesitated. “But, you won’t have any,” Julia told Jim.
“I have another box at home.”
Miss Leventhal smiled and gave the set of crayons to Julia and put up a golden star on the board against Jim’s name. Jim was the happiest boy that day.
Jim and his family shifted from London to New York a month later.
Six-year-old Jim couldn’t sleep on the 24th of December. His parents had put him to bed after reading his favourite story from his favourite book, kissed him on the forehead, turned his favourite lamp off and went to bed.
A while later, little Jim heard footsteps on the roof. Jim knew this wasn’t a monster because monsters never come on Christmas eve. Jim tiptoed to the hall and hid behind a curtain as he heard some scuffling in the chimney. After a few scratches and grunts, a pair of legs dropped onto the dying embers but the man in red didn’t seem to mind. He crawled out of the furnace soiling the carpet with burnt coal. Mama is going to be angry, Jim thought.
Jim ran to Santa and hugged him, his little hands unable to wrap around Santa’s waist. “Hello, Little One! I have a gift for you”, Santa said rummaging through his bag of gifts and toys. Santa took it out and showed Jim a beautifully wrapped present and gave it to Jim.
Jim took the present but didn’t move. “What’s the matter, Little One? Don’t you like it? Did you want a bigger one? Or want it wrapped in green?”
Innocent little kid Jim was, said, “I don’t want a present this year.”
Santa was taken aback. “Ho ho ho! Why do you say that, Little one?”
“Mom said, I should always share with friends.”
“But all of your friends will be given gifts.” Santa said, “You can keep yours. Ho ho ho!”
Jim did not budge. “No, Santa! Can you give this gift to someone who needs it more than I do?”
Santa smiled. “You sure are a wonderful Little One, aren’t you?”
Jim heard a sound upstairs. “Shhh… Santa I should go to my room. My dad thinks I’m asleep. Jim hurried back to his room. He turned back and said, “Santa! Can you give this gift to Julia?” and left the room without waiting for Santa’s reply who felt sad for he couldn’t gift the best child that year.
Seven-year-old Jim couldn’t sleep on the 24th of December. Little Jim no longer asked for bedtime stories. But his parents always kissed him before putting him to bed.
A while later, little Jim heard footsteps on the roof. Jim knew it was Santa! Jim hurried to the hall and ran into Santa and hugged him, his little hands still unable to wrap around Santa’s waist. “Hello, Little One! I have a gift for you”, Santa said rummaging through his bag of gifts and toys. Santa took it out and showed Jim a beautifully wrapped present and gave it to Jim.
“No, Dear Santa! Please give it to someone else.”
“But this time the elves made a special gift for you that you will like! This is the Nintendo you asked for, with all the games you can think of! Ho Ho Ho”, Santa was sure Jim would take his gift this year.
Jim thought for a while, definitely tempted but then said,” I do not need two gifts. I know my dad will hide it in the sock after you go back.”
“Little one, I have to give you a gift!” Santa said worried, “Many elves worked hard for it.”
Jim smiled and hugged Santa. Looking up Jim said, “Then give it to Julia! She would like two gifts!”
Ten years had passed and Jim no longer needed his parents to put him to sleep. Sometimes he didn’t sleep on time, sometimes he spent nights with his friends and girlfriends too.
But, every year on Christmas eve, Jim never took his gift and asked Santa to give it to some other kid or Julia.
Santa begged Jim to take gifts and Jim never changed his answer. Santa tried meeting Jim by disguising himself as a florist, cab driver, friendly neighbour to try cheat his way to gift Jim. But, Jim always recognised Santa.
Seventeen-year-old Jim had heard footsteps on the roof and waited for Santa.
“Ho ho ho! Little one. I have a gift for you!” Santa said
“Dear Santa! This year too, please gift it to someone.”
“But, this is the last year I can gift you. You will no longer be a kid.” Santa pleaded. His face showing signs of weariness.
“You seem tired Santa, I’ll get you a glass of water.”
As Santa sipped water he came up with the best thing he could think of, “I will gift you my bag of gifts. All you need to do is think of the gift you want and the elves will make it for you in a blink of an eye.” No one could resist such a bribe.
“Thank you, Santa, but I’m fine!”
A dejected Santa climbed up through the chimney. “Santa, wait!”
This child finally changed his mind. Santa was happy with himself. He turned around.
“I forgot! I brought some fresh Apples for the Reindeer”, Jim said handing over a small box to Santa, “And a bottle of Sherry for you, dear Santa.”
Santa’s eyes welled up in tears. “Take it. It would be my gift, Santa”
An eighteen-year-old Jim waited for Santa on Christmas eve. He heard the faint sound of the Reindeer and the sleigh. He looked out the window and saw Santa climbing into the Chimneys of the children of the neighbourhood. Jim grew too old for gifts from Santa.
Jim felt left out, but that was the rule. The Elves no longer made gifts for 18 year olds.
Jim volunteered at a local soup kitchen. Christmas eve was one of the best times to be volunteering. He couldn’t sleep. He left early and began preparations for the day at the Kitchen before anyone else. It was five-thirty now and he sat on one of the tables waiting for others to drop in. A Porsche Taycan stopped outside.
A girl stepped out, about his age and walked into the Kitchen. “Hi!”, she said, “When does everyone turn up? I’m new here.” She sure was pretty and seemed like someone he knew.
He’d never seen her before and asked her to sit down and brought her some water from the fridge.
People started coming in and Jim and the girl worked hard and had fun together.
As they left the kitchen she offered him a ride home and he accepted. Who would miss out a chance to get into one of those? They chatted a lot, spoke about Christmas stories. He told her of how he actually met Santa and never took any gifts.
She sure was impressed by him! Well, she always received more gifts than what she asked for and believed Santa helped her get over hard times to be a rich spoilt brat. Both of them laughed.
“I think you won’t believe this, I have a bag that would cook up a gift in a jiffy.” Both laughed. To anyone else, it would seem absurd. But Jim knew exactly what had happened.
As they neared Jim’s place, he got off and invited her in. She told him that her parents were waiting for her. Ah! Crap.
As he turned around, she called out and they exchanged their phone numbers.
“So, what do I call you?” Jim asked.
“Julia”, said the girl, kissed him on the cheek and drove away.
Jim stood at his door for a while. Smiling all the while. He heard someone coughing above.
Jim looked up. Santa sat on the roof of his home. Both smiled at each other.
Both of them said, “Merry Christmas.”
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