The Christmas Gift—A Short Story

Since she was seven, Sally Smyth had written the same letter to Santa Claus.  And each Christmas when she opened her presents her one simple request was not granted.

When she turned thirteen, she ceased writing to the jolly old elf.  Instead she wrote in her journal her one simple request for Christmas.

As Christmas morning came her request was once again not found under her family’s Victorian tree.  She stood by her window with its vermillion drapes and stared out the bay window at the snow-covered streets of her hamlet.

Life was very busy on Christmas morning.  As the day progressed she would sit by the fireplace as the pine logs whistled a tune.  The sun’s rays filled the room and touched the tree.  Sunlight danced off the ornaments.

So it was each Christmas day.  On her twenty-first birthday she was being courted by a fine young man who was a clerk in the telegraph office.

When Christmas Eve rolled around, Sally wrote in her journal, “I believe Bob will ask me to marry him on Christmas Day.  Truly, this will be a grand present.”  She paused for several minutes as she thought about her many letters to Santa Claus and her one request. “Why was my request so difficult to fulfill?  Why?”  She placed her pen down and glanced out her window.  It had started to snow.

Christmas eve snow is magical, she thought.  She had a crazy idea.  Taking out a piece of her beige stationary she wrote another letter to Santa with the same request.

She folded it and placed it in an envelope.  Going down the stairs she opened her front door and saw Jamie Piper delivering the evening newspaper.

She reached for her purse and took out a quarter.  As Jamie came up to the door, she greeted him and asked him to take the letter by the post on his way.  She handed him the quarter and letter.

Jamie was ten and he pushed back his cap and scratched his left eyebrow.  He looked at Sally and smiled.

After he finished his route and mailed the letter, he would swing by Hall’s Five and Dime.  There were some green peppermint candy canes he wanted for his sister, Trudy, and of course, he would have one or two for himself.

Sally had a restless night.  She felt feelings of being silly about writing a letter to Santa Claus at her age, yet there was a sense of disappointment as well.  Would this time be any different she wondered?

She woke to the smell of her father making his Christmas rolls and her mother making walnut-raisin-cinnamon oatmeal.  Her siblings were still asleep.

When she went down stairs, she sat the dining room table with the special red and green dishes which her grandmother Sadie had passed down to her mother.  They added a festive touch to Christmas morning breakfast.

Sally glanced toward the living room and wondered if this time her request had been granted.  Her heart raced, but she would wait like always until breakfast was finished and her father had read the Christmas story.

Since she was the oldest she waited until the younger children had opened their presents.  She was in no hurry.

When her time came, the door chimes rang. Her mother looked at her father with the look of “who could that be?”  Bob was not coming over until 11.

Sally got up from the floor and went to the door.  A courier was there with a small package.  She signed for it and gave him a fifty-cent piece and wished him a Merry Christmas.

She walked into the living room and handed the box to her mother.  Her mother looked at it and promptly said, “Sally Anne, this is addressed to you.

Taking it she opened the box and found an envelope.  As she turned the envelope over, she recognized it.  It was her first letter to Santa Claus.  It had been opened.

She took the letter out of the envelope and unfolded it.  At the bottom were the words:

Dearest Sally,

Your letter was never neglected or forgotten.  I had to wait for the right time.  You will have your wished-for gift before noon.  Some gifts are worth the wait of years.



As fate would have, when Bob came by, he took Sally to the side and said, “Fourteen years ago my grandmother gave me this to give to the woman whom I would marry.  She said that an old friend of hers asked her to do so because he knew the girl. She asked me to give it to that special girl because my grandfather gave it to her on a Christmas Day last century.”  Slowing reaching into his pocket, Bob pulled out a gold ring with traces of silver mixed into the band.

Sally could not believe it.  It was the same ring that she had asked for fourteen years ago in her first letter to Santa. The words that she had read that morning came back, “I had to wait for the right time.”

That night after all had gone to bed Sally stood by the window and looked out on the snow-covered streets.  Not a creature was stirring.

As she held the ring to her heart, she said, “Thank you for this Christmas gift. You are real, so very real.”


May your Christmas gift come when your time is right.  May you have a joyful Christmas!  Live Christmas well.


G. D. Williams       © 2011