On the First Day of Christmas …

Santa Claus
Santa Claus

Our Special Christmas Guest
By Myrna Beth Lambert

The funniest Christmas ever was the Christmas of 1947. I was six years old and filled with the magic of the holidays. The aroma of freshly baked cookies filled the house, as did the smell of fresh pines from our beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

Christmas Eve, my two little sisters and I put on our matching holiday pyjamas, which were decorated with light blue snowmen and white polar bears. They were last year’s present from Aunt Ella and Uncle Ben. We were now ready to curl up next to Daddy so that he could tell us the story of the “Three Wise Men” followed by “The Night Before Christmas” while we sipped hot chocolate topped with tiny marshmallows.

Daddy finished reading the stories then said, “Now up to bed so that Santa can come. You know he never comes while you are awake.” Daddy said the same thing every year. It was our Christmas Eve ritual. Before going to bed we lay out cookies and milk and then my sisters and I crawled into bed hoping that we would fall asleep quickly.

As I began to doze off I heard a loud crash followed by a groan. It sounded like it was coming from the roof although I couldn’t be sure. “Oh my goodness,” I mumbled, “Santa is here and I am still awake.” He sounded like he was in trouble. It was a snowy and icy night and I was sure Santa had slipped off his sleigh or maybe fallen off the roof.

I quietly crept to the window, peering at the front lawn. There was Santa sprawled out like a snow angel. A small red bag lay beside him. He wasn’t moving and he looked like he had lost a considerable amount of weight since I had sat on his lap at Macy’s Department Store.

I ran to the living room and shouted, “Quick everyone go outside! Santa is lying on the front lawn!”

Evidently my mother and father had not heard the thud. They looked at me as though I had gone crazy, but they followed me to the front door.

“Oh my Gosh,” declared Grandma. “Santa’s hurt.”

“I think he fell out of his sleigh,” I said.

I didn’t see any reindeer but the ceramic carollers on the front lawn lay in a million pieces.

“We had better get him into the house,” said Daddy as he lifted a dazed Santa to his feet and carried him into the living room.

When my mother realized I was standing quietly near the sofa she said, “Back to bed Marne. We will make Santa well so that he can finish his journey.” I could tell that she too was worried.

I returned to my bedroom and listened at the door.

I heard my mother say, “Are you okay? We wondered what was taking you so long.”

I thought that was a strange question, I whispered under my breath, “He’s here and that’s all that counts.” I was young and innocent and could only think about the presents he was carrying.

“I think I injured my leg. I fell on those darn carollers.”

I was shocked, Santa said, “Darn.” He just wasn’t himself.

“Let’s get you to the guest room,” said Grandma. “I want to make sure you don’t have any pieces of plaster in your leg.”

“Can you stand up?” asked my mother.

I watched as Santa in a white shirt and big black pants and boots wobbled to the guest room.

“Don’t forget the bag of presents!” I yelled down the stairs.

An angry mom yelled back, “Go to bed! It’s Christmas Eve and not every little child gets to have Santa rest in their guest room.”

“Be sure and give him the cookies and milk!” I shouted.

“If you don’t get to bed I doubt he will be leaving any presents here,” bellowed my father. “Have you any idea how special it is to have Santa in your guest room? Now go to bed.”

I couldn’t sleep, so I waited until the house was quiet. When I was certain everyone had gone to bed I took my little Kodak camera and tiptoed to the guest room. I quickly snapped a picture of a sleeping Santa and ran back my room.

The next morning my sisters and I ran downstairs, but instead of racing to the tree we went to the guest room. The room was empty and the bed was neatly made up.

“There’s no one in this room. You must have had a weird dream,” said my little sister.

“I did not, ask Mama.”

We immediately went into the living room and there under the tree were neatly stacked gifts. We were excited and we quickly forgot about Santa.

When Grandma came down to help with breakfast I said, “When did Santa Claus leave the guest room?”

She had a quizzical look on her face as though she didn’t know how to answer. After hesitating a few seconds she said, “He only dropped in to rest then he left. He had a lot of stops to make.”

That sounded reasonable to me.

Soon my two favorite aunts and uncles arrived. They were loaded down with presents. Poor Uncle Bert was walking with a cane and Uncle Ben my dad’s brother had a cast on his leg.

As we were exchanging gifts Aunt Ella said, “Sure were a lot of injuries this Christmas. It’s just one sheet of ice outside.”

“You won’t believe it,” I said, “but even Santa had an accident last night. He rested in our guest room until he felt better. He has magic powers so he heals fast. Lucky for him.”

Aunt Ella smiled. I could tell she didn’t believe me. She said, “You have quite an imagination.”

I smiled back as we tore open our presents.

I patted the camera in the pocket of my bathrobe and whispered, “You will believe me the next time I see you.”

Till this day I hang the photo of a sleeping Santa on our Christmas tree as I tell my children the tale of the funniest and most special Christmas of my childhood.

Myrna Beth (Micki) Lambert, award-winning author, is the mother of three grown daughters and nine grandchildren. She had been married to her husband, Stan, for 48 years. Micki writes poetry and short stories and has had several poems and stories published. Her writing has received many awards including the Tom Howard Short Story Contest and Voice Net Poetry Contest. She has had several Christmas stories published in Bread ‘n Molasses. Her inspiration is her family.