This piece is the first of the Christmas pieces we are going to have for this month. We will write many Christmas-related pieces throughout the month, so come back for that.
Oh, and we are going to include intros with every piece from now, in case you were wondering, to help give you some context of it, and some news when needed.
Other than that, there isn’t much you need to know for now.
Enjoy reading. Thanks.
Happiness And Santa - Short Story
The Christmas list has become one of the many staples of the late-year holiday. Sure, Saint Nick has the most notorious of them all. The jolly guy has everyone in the world on one freaking list. What does he have it on an excel sheet or something? Can you imagine how much space that takes up; but then there is the more important list to you then the list of a man at the North Pole. Your list. The stuff that you want to unwrap.
“What do you want for Christmas?” Everyone hears that from someone that cares about them during the holiday season. Unless you are one of those unfortunate few who has no one ever ask what they want under the Christmas tree. If that is you, then I really am sorry for you and the unfortunate circumstance you are in. To those that are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) to have someone in their life posing the question about their wants, then you know is not about the actual answer to the question, but the prospect of knowing that the person is interested enough in your life that they will get you something. Will the gift suck? Probably. (Sorry to whoever gets me a gift this year) It’s not going to be a new car, or laptop, or anything that you would go crazy over, but it is the thought that counts. That gift represents the better life that the person wants for you. So it may be a little off. You get a jacket that you will never wear. You got the outdated version of Call of Duty. You didn’t get what you wanted, but you got someone who wanted you to have the gift. That means something.
So you ponder of gifts. You create a list of all the toys and presents you want.
Until you realize that you don’t know what you want, do you want a new book? Cause that pile you have that is not being read could use a few more books added. What about a video game? Or some new clothes? Or you know, other stuff that you like that you will use (most likely)
There is one thing that is on everyone’s list this year.
I parked my car in the vacant parking lot of the small park by my work. I would tell you the name of the park, but I never take much time to look at the sign at the entrance. I am only ever in the area for work.
The park is the smallest I have been in among my travels. I am not saying that I have been to every park in the world, but this is the smallest one I have ever see, for what that is worth. I have to walk around the cement path, that always has one too many leaves on it, multiple times to reach a half-mile. I go there not only to get my steps in but to be alone. I like that no one is ever there and that there is one circular cement path to follow, so I am never in a position of having to decide on which way to go. The park feels shielded from modern society because of the trees that surround the path. As I walk around it on rainy days, none of the rain falls on me because of the leaves that shelter me from above. I can’t see my car or the roads when I walk because of the trees. This isolation is comforting for a little bit of my day after I put in my 8 hours and deal with customers and co-workers because I feel as if I am getting away from the world. All the unnecessary updates, all the over information. All the noise. I can walk in peace, not having to worry about it all. Also, It helps me to get my steps in.
Like I usually do, I walked around the small park a few times. I always pick a certain direction to walk towards the dirt plot of land beside the garbage can that is never full, not the direction where the tree stump lies beside the parts of a broken fence. There is nothing wrong with heading the other way, but I have come so accustomed to my original choice that I view any walking in the opposite direction as confused and misplaced.
The park was empty like it always is. Despite its relatively small size, the park has three different points for benches for someone to take a break. All of them were empty.
On my fourth or fifth time around, I saw an old fat guy sitting on a park bench. He nodded at me as I continued my stride.
“That guy looks like Santa.” I thought.
Santa, to me, has become any old fat guy with a long white beard, which I notice means that most men could fit this category. Many fit the description, but none are ever really him because, well, you know…
I walked around the small trail once more and saw the man still sitting there.
I sat next to the stranger, exhausted from the short walk I had.
He nodded at me. “You look like Santa,” I said.
“Probably because I am Santa.” He said sternly.
“Right, and I am Batman.”
“Non-sense. Batman is a fictional character. Everyone knows that. Plus, a billionaire playboy who goes around in a bat costume beating up criminals. Who would believe that?
“Right. Cause that is the one that is not real.”
“I don’t care for how he uses violence to solve the problems of his community. Peace is always the answer. If you decide to fight, then you are no better than the ones you are fighting.”
“He’s not real. You know that?”
“Of course I do. I enjoy the films, is all.”
“Did you see the Joker film?”
“You know I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. I heard it was good.”
“Yeah. It makes him out to be an anti-hero really more than a villain.”
“Boy, what they do with fictional characters today. You know, I remember when I saw a billboard of me with a Coke back when they first started doing that. I was surprised by the whole thing because I didn’t really drink Coke at the time. I still don’t get any sort of deal out of it, by the way.”
“Right. Because you’re Santa.”
I got tired of the back and forth with the stranger and sat that quiet for a while. I tried to ignore the stranger and hoped he would leave me alone and walk away, so I never had to see him again, but he didn’t. He sat there, admiring the trees that were in front of us. And for some reason, the guy thinks he is actually Santa, not some mall replica of the guy. He must be on some pretty good drugs. I then remembered what I put on my Christmas list this year.
“Why is it so hard to be happy in this life?” I asked aloud.
“I’m afraid that question is above my pay rate, friend. I am not the one who knows the meaning of life.” The stranger answered, not realizing I wasn’t actually asking him.
“What? But aren’t you Santa? Don’t you know that sort of stuff?”
“I am, but I am not God. I didn’t create this place.”
I sat motionless, not sure what I was more annoyed at; that this guy was confronting me over my happiness or that he thinks he really is Santa.
“Do you think I am always happy?” He asked me.
“That I am always jolly? As many put it.”
“Well, are you?”
“You are under the impression that I am patting Rudolph on the nose, and having cookies and milk all the time, aren’t you?”
“You mean you’re not?”
“Every year, I get to go over the best that humanity has to offer. I know of the goodness of the human spirit, how a single mother will work to support her family, how a soldier will give his life for another. I see it all. And that gives me hope that it will be alright. That no matter the wars fought, famines faced, or crises created, humanity’s soul will persevere…. But then I see the bad ones in this world too. Those that I can talk to face to face, give them what they want, and yet they still act naughty. They still cheat, and ki…. “He stopped mid-sentence, as if he didn’t want to elaborate.” He chuckled. “Naughty, yeah, that is the PG version of it. You only hear of the ones who are a little bad. I have to come to the harsh truth that there are naughty people out there. No matter how many presents I deliver, or houses I visit, or yes, glasses of milk I drink, there will always be some that get coal.” He took a deep breath. “And that saddens me.”
“What?” I looked up from the ground at the stranger.
“I wish I could put everyone on the nice list. That when I am done checking over the list, that there is no one that was naughty this year, but that has never happened in all of my years of doing this. Unfortunately, it probably never will.”
“Now I could let that bring me down, give up this whole gig, and stop altogether. The naughty will always be bad, and that is that. But I believe that is not the proper way of being happy as you put it. I am proud of the millions of gifts I deliver each year, and that will always outshine the coal I leave.”
“Perspective, my friend. I can say that I deliver half the world coal on a night that they should be celebrating the birth of our Savior. Or that I am bringing gifts to the good ones in our world, helping uniting families and bringing smiles to their faces.
“Perhaps instead of asking how the world can give you happiness, you should be asking, how can you give happiness to yourself? “
“You won’t like everything that you do. Every action that you make, but you can like who you are. And see that the good you do, the good you have, is always more than the bad you have. If you understand that, then maybe you can find that one thing you have been asking me for all those years.”
“Trust me. I’ve been around.” He winked at me as he got me.
“Plus, you will think this conversation never happened anyway. You will write this off as a dream you had. Perhaps you will say I was an illusion you saw on the park bench, or a clever old guy trying to give you some advice.”
“But hey, what do you have to worry about? Santa doesn’t exist anyway.”
He walked away from the park bench singing.
“Oh, you better not pout. You better not cry. You better not shout. I’m telling you why.”
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