Daniel and Nicole sat together on the couch in their apartment wrapping the final presents for their child, Oliver. They did this as quietly as possible as not to wake him. It was Christmas Eve and a few hours earlier, Oliver was bouncing off the walls in excitement for Christmas Day. His parents sent him to bed and now were finishing up the final preparations for the big day tomorrow.
“I think that’s everything,” Nicole said putting a bow on a box containing a new set of pajamas for Oliver.
“Yeah I guess it is,” Daniel said.
Nicole handed the gift to Daniel who placed it underneath the Christmas tree with the small pile of gifts.
“I just don’t want him to be disappointed,” Daniel said.
“Oh, Danny. He’s going to love it,” Nicole said leaning over to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“It’s just that he had his heart set on a PlayStation. He just talks about Spider-Man all the time. That’s what he asked for when he sat on Santa’s lap and what he wrote in his letter to Santa,” Daniel said. “I just know that he’s going to be really upset if it’s not here tomorrow.”
“There’s no way we could afford that this year with everything going on,” Nicole said as her voice trailed off.
Daniel placed a hand on hers.
“Don’t put this on you, ok? We’re making do,” Daniel said.
Nicole nodded and smiled a bit.
In all honesty it was a small miracle that they were able to afford this much stuff for Christmas. Nicole’s treatments had been expensive and fluctuations with Daniel’s insurance had left the family broke for the season as they focused on covering doctor’s appointments and radiation treatments. Daniel and Nicole promised not to spend any money on each other for Christmas so they could collectively get Oliver as many gifts as possible. Still a PlayStation was out of the question for this year’s Christmas.
“Well it’s almost midnight. We better get to bed,” Nicole said. “You know Oliver is going to wake us up really early so he can open his gifts.”
“I think I’m going to stay up for a little bit more,” Daniel said.
“Alright. Just don’t stay up too late. I’m exhausted so I’m going to bed,” Nicole said.
Nicole gave Daniel a kiss and then went off towards their bedroom.
“Love you,” Nicole said.
“Love you, too,” Daniel said as Nicole disappeared into their bedroom.
Daniel let out a sigh as he put his head in his hands. He sat there wishing there was something he could have done to get Oliver that PlayStation. Daniel thought back to old childhood memories where he woke up on Christmas Day and unwrapped the original PS1. It was one of his favorite Christmases. He spent all day playing that machine until finally his Dad made him go to bed.
The memory of Daniel’s childhood played like a movie in his mind as he slowly drifted off to sleep. His eyes got heavy and he laid down on the couch before he fell asleep.
There was a thud that woke Daniel out of a dead sleep. He sat up quickly with blurry vision. Daniel rubbed his eyes and they slowly focused. There in his living room was a large man wearing red with white hair and white facial hair. The man held up a gloved finger to his lips.
“Quiet, Danny. Everyone is asleep,” He said.
His voice was very calming, but stern. It almost reminded him of his dad.
“Who? What? How?” Daniel spoke in fragments.
“It’s alright Daniel. I didn’t mean to wake up. Just delivering some gifts,” He smiled a wide smile.
“Santa Clause?” Daniel finally got out his words.
“Yes, Daniel?” Santa asked.
“No, I mean. You’re Santa Claus,” Daniel said.
“Yes, I am,” Santa smiled. “I accidentally bumped the couch when I was reaching for one of those delicious cookies. Nicole has always been good at baking.”
“You know Nicole? Wait, you know me?”
“Of course. I’m Santa Claus. I know both of you and your son Oliver. All on the nice list,” Santa said as his smile widened.
Daniel switched to a quieter whisper. “I thought you were…like not real.”
Santa let out a low belly laugh.
“Ho. Ho. Ho. Oh Daniel, you always did have a sense of humor. Smart man. Full of ambition. Full of love for the people around you.”
“Thank….thank you,” Daniel said.
“Now you better head off to bed,” Santa said. “Nicole will wonder what happened to you if you stay here on the couch all night.”
“Wait is this some kind of dream?” Daniel asked. “That must be it. I must still be asleep.”
Daniel then looked at his hands and pinched himself on the arm. He looked up and Santa was still standing there in his living room with a cookie in his hand.
“I’m sorry Daniel, but this is very real,” Santa said.
“Right. Yeah. Sure,” Daniel said.
“Now you better head off to bed. Most of the time I don’t spend this long talking to people. I have a lot of houses to get to tonight. I still have a sleigh full of gifts for all the good people out there.”
“Presents. You brought us presents?”
“Of course, Daniel. You, Nicole, and Oliver are all on the nice list,” Santa said.
“Well what did you bring us?” Daniel blurted out the question.
Santa let out another belly laugh.
“Daniel, you know I can’t just tell you what I got you for Christmas,” He said.
“Right. Of course. What about Oliver? Did you…”
“Your little boy wrote me a letter talking about how good he had been all year. He talked about how he wanted a PlayStation 4 and wanted Spider-man. He even drew me a picture. I think he’ll be a great artist one day,” Santa laughed a little more before continuing. “He also told me that his Mommy was very sick and his Daddy was working really hard. He told me that if I could only deliver one present to his house, he wanted something for you and Nicole. Oliver told me not to worry about Spider-man. He just wanted something nice for his mother and father.”
Daniel’s chest tightened. He reached up a hand and wiped tears from his eyes.
“Oliver is a very sweet boy,” Santa Claus said.
“I’m reminded of that every day,” Daniel said.
“Of course after receiving that letter, I had to do something. So I had my Elves work up something in the workshop. A nice and shiny PS4,” Santa knelt down and tapped one of the large boxes beside the Christmas tree which was not there before.
“But a PS4 was incomplete, so he I brought a few other things,” Santa continued.
He pointed to several other small boxes.
“God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Rocket League. Something the two of you can play together. This one has an extra controller. A little something for you as well, Daniel.”
“I…. I can’t believe you did this…for Oliver. For Us,” Daniel said.
“I also left something very beautiful under the tree for the Misses. Didn’t want to leave her out of the festivities,” Santa said.
Daniel stood up from the couch.
“Can I give you a hug?” Daniel asked.
“Of course,” Santa stood up and spread his arms.
Daniel went in and wrapped his arms around the man dressed in the heavy, red coat, red hat, and black boots. Santa wrapped his arms around Daniel.
Daniel picked up on the scent of cinnamon sugar, peppermint, and a little burnt wood. The hug was soft and Daniel felt like he could just stay like this forever.
After a bit of a long hug, Daniel took a step breaking the embrace and Santa dropped his arms.
“Thank you so much…Santa,” Daniel said.
“You’re very welcome, Daniel,” Santa said. “Now you better get off to bed. Don’t want to tell you again.”
“Right. I’ll do that,” Daniel said before walking off towards his bedroom.
He stood in the doorway for a moment thinking about something.
“Wait Santa. How did you…”
Daniel turned back towards the Christmas Tree, but there was no one standing there.
“…get in here if we don’t have a chimney,” He finished his thought.
“Oh well,” Daniel shrugged his shoulders and then joined his wife in bed.
The next morning around 5 AM, both Daniel and Nicole were woken up by Oliver jumping up and down on their bed.
“Wake up! Wake up! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas! Santa came! Santa Came!” Oliver yelled as he bounced up and down.
Daniel woke up and wrapped his arms around Oliver bringing him into a hug.
“Alright, buddy. We get it. It’s Christmas. You better stop before you wake up Mommy,” He said.
“Too late,” Nicole said through a groan.
They got up and stumbled into the living room. Nicole whipped up a basic breakfast of bacon and eggs for the family.
“Can we open presents?” Oliver asked.
“We have to eat breakfast first,” Daniel said.
“But I’m not hungry,” Oliver said.
“Well if you don’t eat breakfast, then you don’t get presents,” Nicole said.
That was enough to change Oliver’s mind. He sat down and quickly scarfed down his bacon and eggs. Then the family moved over to the couch.
“Present time! Present time!” Oliver said running over to the couch.
Nicole gave Daniel a look as she scanned over the additional boxes underneath the tree.
“Santa,” Daniel mouthed to Nicole.
She gave Daniel a quizzical look.
Immediately Oliver gravitated towards the large box.
“Why don’t we open that box last,” Daniel suggested handing Oliver the box with the pajamas. “Open this one first.”
Oliver went through and opened the presents that Nicole and Daniel had wrapped. There was pajamas, new clothes, and an assortment of candy.
Finally it was time to open the big box.
“Who’s that from?” Nicole asked.
“Santa Claus! Santa Claus!” Oliver said as he began to tear into the wrapping paper.
Nicole looked over at Daniel who just smiled and shrugged.
Oliver tore off the wrapping paper revealing a PlayStation 4
“He brought it! He brought it!” Oliver exclaimed before tearing into the smaller box. “And Spider-man!”
Nicole looked over at Daniel with a look of confusion and a hint of frustration. A look that said “I thought we didn’t get him the PlayStation. I thought we couldn’t afford it. Did you go behind my back and buy this? Can we afford it?”
Daniel sidestepped that look by turning his attention to Oliver.
“That’s amazing, buddy. Santa must have gotten your letter,” He said. “What about those other boxes?”
Oliver looked at them and read the cards on them.
“They are from Santa for you and Mommy,” Oliver said as he grabbed the gifts and dumped them down between Daniel and Nicole.
“We got presents from Santa?” Nicole asked.
“I guess so,” Daniel said picking up the boxes.
Daniel picked up the boxes and unwrapped the PlayStation Games and the extra controller.
“Wow!” Oliver smiled the biggest smile Daniel had ever seen. “Santa brought you games too!”
“Yeah I guess he wants you to share your PS4 with me,” Daniel said pulling Oliver in for a hug.
They both looked over at Nicole who had unwrapped her gift. It was just one gift, but it seemed to be something special. She had tears streaming down her face.
“Mommy, what’s wrong?”
“It’s so beautiful,” Nicole said through her tears.
She turned the box around to reveal a beautiful diamond necklace.
“I love it so much,” She said as more tears streamed down her face.
Daniel pulled her in and they embraced in a large, family hug.
“I love you,” Daniel said.
“I love you too,” Nicole said.
“I love you too,” Oliver said before squirming out of the hug. “Come on, Dad. I want to play Spider-man.”
“Alright, alright. Open up the box and we can power it on,” Daniel said with a laugh.
Oliver went back to looking at the PlayStation 4 and Spider-man.
Nicole brought Daniel closer and whispered in his ear.
“Did you buy all of this?” She asked.
“Santa brought it,” Daniel said.
Daniel pulled back and Nicole looked doubtful, but did not push him any further.
“Go, get Oliver set up, ok?” Nicole said with a smile.
“Ok,” Daniel returned the smile.
Daniel then sat down on floor with Oliver and helped him get the PlayStation 4 out of the box. Oliver bounced up and down with excitement as he held his Spider-man game in his hands. Nicole smiled the entire time as she watched his two boys work together to get the game up and running.
Daniel smiled knowing that this Christmas was one of the best ever. Not only because he knew that this Christmas was going to be special for Oliver, but also because he was reminded of the wonderful people in his life. His sweet son. His beautiful wife. And a jolly man watching over his entire family who came through to make this Christmas amazing.
Header Photo Credit to Street Easy Blog