Let me introduce myself, my name is Amanda, I'm eighteen years old, and still live at home with my mother and younger brother Bryan who is seven. This is a story of how Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me.
Our Christmas tree was lopsided, with a few bald spots, and even looked more pathetic with the few presents under it. However, it was all my mother could afford. Ever since the divorced she barely enough money to pay bills, let alone buy presents. You see, my dad is a penny pinching greedy person who I have dubbed, "Scrooge." The reason being, that he'd paid his lawyer a lot of money to make sure his wife and children wouldn't get a dime from him.
After my parents split, mom had to take a job working as a receptionist for a local financial service. It didn't pay a lot, and required that she work long hours, but it did pay the rent. She didn't have enough to buy extras, so I decided to help by taking a job at a local department store. The hours were the same as Bryan's school time, so mom wouldn't have to pay for a sitter. It only paid minimum wage, but I felt that I was doing my part to ease mother's financial burden. Between mother and me we were able to buy a few presents for Christmas.
Mom and I knew the true meaning of Christmas, and also knew there was no Santa Claus. We decided to keep that bit of truth to ourselves, because we wanted to make sure Bryan still believed in the magic of Christmas.
Many nights I would hear mom crying and knew it was because she was lonely. One day I asked her, "Mom, maybe you should look for a decent man who will not treat you like daddy did."
She just bowed her head and said, Amanda, I really don't think I can be happy with anyone else, especially after what you father did to me. I just don't trust men anymore."
I didn't push the subject and wished there was something I could do to change her attitude. I prayed that one some day, a man could convince her that all men aren't bad. However, in the back of my head, I wasn't so sure myself, because something happen between my father and I that I have never told anyone about.
It was Christmas Eve. We sent Bryan to bed early and then got out the presents and placed them under the tree. Afterwards mom and I stood there hugging each other. She turned to me with tears in her eyes and whispered, "Merry Christmas honey."
I held back the tears and replied, "Thanks mom, but I don't feel like celebrating Christmas this year, and there is no magic in Christmas for me. I will pretend for Bryan's sake only."
Mom turned to me and frowned, "Now don't let what you father did ruin your holiday spirit honey, as there is always magic in the air at Christmas."
I kissed her cheek, frowned, and grumbled, "Ah hum-bug, good-night momma, see you in the morning."
Mom kissed me back and uttered, "Goodnight baby, I'll be up for awhile if you need to talk things out."
I walked into my room, got ready for bed, and told myself mom needed some time alone so I would just try and go to sleep.
I wasn't asleep for more than two hours when I hear strange noise. I wasn't sure what it was or who it was. As I trembled all over, I crept out of bed, picked up my baseball bat, trying to look courageous, and quietly walked toward the sound of the noise. So help me, if someone was stealing what little we had for Christmas they'd pay.
When I got near the living room where our tree was I gasped, no one was there. The tree was loaded with present and whoever did it, left the front door open. I walked into the room and said out loud, "Who, what, MOM!"
Mom came running as if I'd been hurt and when she neared the room. When she entered the room she stopped, grabbed the nearest chair to hold onto so she wouldn't pass out, and shouted, "Ooooh my goodness!" She blinked, rubbed her eyes, and said, "Am I dreaming?"
I walked over to her and put my arm around her and chirped, "No I don't think this is a dream." I pointed to tree and said, "I heard a noise and came running in here, and that is what I saw. Mother, how—who—dang, who could have done this?"
She just smiled and whispered, "All I can think of dear is, the magic of Christmas. But between you and me if Bryan asks it was Santa Claus, okay."
I scratched my head, and mumbled "Okay, but I'll pretend for his sake, but I still don't believe in the magic of Christmas. It was probably daddy, with a guilty conscious."
Mom just laughed and said, "Who know, I've seen stranger miracles happen. As for your dad, that would be a stretch."
We both hugged each other and mom whispered,
"Let's go back to bed before we awaken Bryan. Amanda, I want you to try and look surprised in the morning okay?"
We both snuck back toward our bedrooms, on the way, mom checked on Bryan to make sure he was still asleep. She gave me the thumbs up and I entered my room and crawled back into bed.
I lay there unable to sleep with a million thoughts running through my head. I frowned well I know it definitely wasn't a Santa Claus, because there is no such person. Maybe, it could be someone else, but I couldn't think of anyone, not even daddy. It was then I began to consider the idea and asked out-loud, "Is there really magic in the air at Christmas? I shock my head and said, "No-way, silly girl."
Then out of the darkness I heard a strange man's voice, "What makes you think there is not magic in the air at Christmas time?"
I jumped, almost fell off the bed, dang near pee'd my pants and bit my tongue. I squinted to see if I could make out a figure and asked, "Who's there?"
Whoever it was never answered me, so I got out of bed turned on my light to check the room out. No one was there, so I decided I had been dreaming, curled up with my blanket and fell asleep.
I must have begun to dream, because I heard the voice again, this time it said, "Christmas is magic Amanda."
As I looked on the corner of my bed, there sat Santa, a jolly fat man with white hair and a red suit. I rubbed my eyes and stammered, "How—did—you—know my name?"
With a twinkle in his deep blue eyes Santa replied, "I know everyone's name. If you believe, many things that seem impossible can happen this time of year."
All I could do was st straight up in bed and mumble, "But..."
He moved closer and sat next to me, touched my shoulder and said, "Amanda, I know that you and your mother have worked very hard to make Christmas happen for Bryan. She is still trying to forget the man who hurt her. So, I'm giving you all something to make this Christmas extra special."
I turned my face to him, frowned, and yelled, "Why are you talking to me then?"
He just smiled and said, "You are the one who didn't believe in Christmas magic. I also know there was nothing under the tree for you, so I'm here to give it to you personally."
I looked at him with wide eyed amazement and said, "That because I didn't want anything this year, except to make Bryan happy."
Santa looked at me and smiled and replied, "I also know that your father raped you on your sixteenth birthday. It made you afraid of all men, and that is one on the reasons you make excuses to not go out on a date."
My jaw fell open, and tears welled up in my eyes and with a quiver in my voice I said, "How in earth did you know that, I never told anyone, not even momma?"
He looked into my green-eye and said, "I know everything. Now let me show you that all men aren't rapists like your father."
He then took me into his muscular arms and held me on his lap as if I were a hurt child. As he did, he uttered, "Let it go baby, the memories will only destroy you."